If you ever wondered why the fuss about these preliminaries for the nomination of party national presidential candidates in a tiny state like Iowa (where the heck is this located anyways?), then don't worry too much. You're not gonna be able to grasp easily the significance of the event as most of the rest of us, non-US nationals, or aliens as US authorities usually like to call us.
Take a look at the Wikipedia article about the caucuses. You might learn something. I did the same and I must say, I enjoyed the reading about the actual voting process of the Democrats; that looks more like a social game that many adults play in spacey precincts (like bingo or like the 80ies social game of Diplomacy). From one point of view this may look very much as the ultimate democratic process, much more than some contemporary Swiss cantons or Agora Athenians during the Golden Age. It must be real fun, much more than any other social fun party you can think of. Apparently the Republicans seem to prefer a more conventional style of casting votes via plain vanilla ballots but, nevertheless, the Democratic process must be real amusement to watch... especially seeing active supporters of leading candidates trying to convince the undecided, the latter enjoying a game of 'yes, but...'. Cool!
The aspect of all this I like most is the belief that 1% of existing US voters decide largely what the actual final outcome is likely to be. In other words, the Iowa citizens seem to be the soul and conscience of the entire nation, not? Hard to believe, but this is what the media and the common opinion seem to accept.
So, Obama and Huckabee (who's this guy, again?) seem to have won in yesterday's Iowa caucuses. So be it. Are they going to be the National level nominees for their respective parties? Doubt it for the both of them... maybe Obama... but who knows?
The thing I took away however from this first election, is the fact that Hillary hasn't even ended at second place whereas Giuliani ended at the bottom of the ladder of the GOP with 3.4% of the votes. Say what? The National Hero of 9/11 rockbottom?! Wow!! There is still whole lotta hope for the nation! These results for Hillary and Giuliani are both great news and that tells me that at least Iowan's have a lot more brains in their sculls than we are used from average US citizens. That's good. I am now convinced that 2008 is gonna be the year of positive change for all of us.
Happy New Year!