As the United States Supreme Court has finally answered the question of exactly who will guide the American Empire into the new century, the principle loser of Campaign 2000, the American people or rather Americans' faith in their system of government, has been once again reaffirmed.
Already five weeks ago, as this unprecedented election saga started to take its course with the networks putting Florida back in the undecided column, two things had become abundantly clear. One, America is split right down the middle in just about every category the election analysts could come up with: whites vs. all other ethnic groups, men vs. women, rich vs. poor and the list goes on. Second, the one thing that everybody wanted, i.e. an end of the partisan bickering and extremism that had so tainted the Clinton presidency, was not readily forthcoming.
Now, one more headache:
With its 65-page decision and a more-or-less straight split on ideological lines, the US Supreme Court joined the rest of the nation and left the moral highground, heading right into the dark abyss of the great trans-American divide. The Court's (majority) ruling boils down to saying: yes, the counting process in the sunshine state was so fundamentally flawed that we really should recount, but unfortunately we don't have time to count properly, and that's just all too bad. Justice John Paul Stevens laid his finger right on the wound in his dissenting opinion, arguing that "although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of the law".
Even if George W. Bush, the now President-elect, can use his undisputed capacity for healing and bipartisan pragmatism to reconcile America with his presidency, it seems more than unlikely that he will be able to do the same for the highest court in the land. Pity the Americans who, ever so conscious of their lack of any other meaningful (and positive) defining national characteristics, have always relied on the supremacy of their constitutional system, the "shining beacon of liberty", to define themselves and their actions.
Now as the last resort of impartial and wise judgement has fallen victim to that very same divide that runs through the nation as the St. Andrew's fault runs through the smoke and cholesterol free state of California, these very fundaments of America could be trembling. Behold, Americans might even start to question "manifest destiny".
Well, on second thought, probably not. In any case, though, the nation does seem to be in urgent need of a good shrink.