Monday night, I flew into Washington National airport about 8 PM. The flight path sometimes goes right over the mall and I find the view inspiring every time. The monuments all lit up. The capitol dome behind Washington's monument. (Okay, Washington's monument is admittedly odd. Could we have erected a more phallic symbol to honor the father of our country?) The Jefferson Memorial aglow along the Potomac River. Then, as I drive south, I again see the beauty of the mall from another angle. It's a view that would have to inspire at least a temporary love of country in even the most jaded lobbyist.
This country is such a fabulously interesting experiment in social invention, such a brilliant bit of daring on the part of the founding fathers. And for all our kibitzing and whining about the way things are (I sometimes think that blogging is the equivalent of talking back to the TV), the results have been unpredictably spectacular.
When this country was founded, in the late 18th century, life expectancy was not even 30 years. Monarchs dictated even your beliefs. "All men were created equal" are among the most revolutionary words ever written.
Tonight, the pundits are analyzing Hillary's win over Barack Obama. Putting aside politics and who one would like to see win, I think that the Obama - Clinton victories are a beautiful thing. The Democrats are favored to win in the fall, so their primaries really do matter. And that a black won the first caucus and a woman the first primary is truly extraordinary.
It seems to give evidence to the claim that we are, indeed, still making progress. For the sake of your blood pressure, take a day to revel in this fact. This country was founded by idealists with a sense of urgency, possibility, and nearly inexplicable optimism. We've no reason to give up on that combination now. History is still being made and this is a fascinating time to be alive.