This post is inspired by the song "100 Years" by Blues Traveler. If you don't already own every Blues Traveler album, you need to go get them if it does not cause your financial ruin and you actually have the means to play them. (It would just be silly to buy CD's if you don't have a CD player.)
The gist of the song is that nothing we do today will mean anything to anybody 100 years from now, and generally stated that is true. Not many people get to be Leonidas at Thermopolae, Ceasar at the Rubicon, Jesus at Gethsemane, Luther in Worms, Columbus at Isobella's court, or Washington at- take your pick, when the actions you take and the decisions you make will change the course of world history. Most of what we do is rather mundane and affects nobody outside our immediate circle of friends and relations and even then generally does not cause much of a ripple in the waters of life.
There are things, however, that we do have influence over that do matter. Currently my country is engaged in what is popularly called the Global War on Terror, better known to others as Haliburton Stock Support. The current focus of the war is on the Iraqi battlefield, and is being fought not only with bullets and bombs, but with pens and ideas. In two days, the people of Iraq will be heading back to the polling places, defying terrorist thugs, to vote on the new Constitution. Make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen, this could well be one of the history changing moments, but it will take more than the votes of the Iraqi people to pull it off. If the Constitution is approved, it will still take a great amount of assistance from the U.S. and its coalition partners to ensure that Iraq is able to put it into practice despite the violent wishes of foreign terrorists and a minority of home-grown thugs.
If the proposition fails, it requires an even greater act of will to ensure that the parties peacefully reconcile their philosophical and political differences and the desire of different groups to wield authority into a constitution that can be accepted by a broad consensus. It will be a great test on our belief in democracy and the right of self-determination, but one that we must pass.
There is no guarantee that even a successful outcome to establishing a democratic government in Iraq will truly lead to changes throughout the region, but doing so will be the most significant historic event since Ronald Reagan stood in Berlin and demanded, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."