Last Sunday students at Carnegie Mellon experienced something that many will go their whole lives without coming close to witnessing – we experienced a night in a city whose team had just won the Superbowl. The aftermath, while not completely unexpected, was something altogether unlike anything I had ever seen in person.
Now that a week has passed and the issue has begun to fade, we can examine the events of that night with clearer heads. Was it simply an act of self-indulgent, meaningless behavior? It's certainly difficult to justify taking down street signs, destroying trees, smashing glass, and setting fire to things. In fact, one has to wonder why a group of people would celebrate the victory of their hometown sports team by damaging the city they represent.
This is not, however, the entire story. Recall that even though the Pittsburgh police had every reason to suspect such a response given the aftermath of the last time the Steelers won, it was only with great difficulty that they were able to maintain a semblance of control, and resigned to making sure things didn't get too out of control until everyone decided to leave.
Why does this matter? It matters because the people of this country have often had to resort to unusual methods to get their point across. At such a unique political and economic crossroads, it is not inconceivable that such a moment may soon come again. Were the people in question reacting to some social system they felt was flawed? Probably not. More likely is that they were drunk on excitement at the very least and decided to celebrate in a manner not normally possible.
It is this last point that, surprisingly, has the most meaning. The people decided that they were going to behave in this manner, and while these impulses were curbed to some extent, it was a moment when people asserted that they would do what they wanted and no one was going to get in their way. In an era that all too often seems to have politicians who view the people as an impediment to their own desires it was refreshing to see that, even if as of yet it hasn't been giving direction, people possess within themselves the power to assert their will.
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