Despite the flack surrounding Election 2000, there are still a few
things we Americans can look at and take solace from. Although the
process may well have sustained some serious damage, America is still
America. This election is the closest in history — bar none. Given the
results, it could be argued that, for every voter there was for George
Bush, there is another voter who wanted Al Gore, and vice-versa. But
America is not a banana republic, no matter how it looks and no matter
how hard some try to make it appear.
The other night in a restaurant, with the election news playing
loudly on the TV, it was obvious from the reaction of one diner that he
was in favor of Al Gore. But he limited his response to the endless TV
commentary to loud, Al Gore-type sighs. Other patrons, just as
obviously, were pro Bush, but they also kept their comments to
themselves. Nobody wanted to force a confrontation.
That is America. In other countries, a ballot so evenly split would
have supporters for one candidate or another rioting in the streets. The
upshot of such a reaction would be civil war. No danger of that in
America, at least not yet. One can only marvel at our system, despite
the deeply flawed men that have clawed their way to the top of the
In the final analysis, America is constituted as a republic, as
opposed to a pure democracy. John Adams, a founding father and our 2nd
president explained it this way. “Remember, democracy never lasts long.
It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a
democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
In a republic, the laws of God are expressly understood to be beyond
man’s right of self-determination. They cannot be changed. As
Blackstone’s Commentaries explain, a republic can only make laws that do
not conflict with the divine. For example, since murder is forbidden by
the Ten Commandments, we cannot therefore make murder legal. Indeed, if
murder were mandated by the will of the people, we are compelled to
disobey such a law.
In other words, the difference between a pure democracy and that of a
constitutional republic is the ultimate source of its authority.
And it is that principle that explains why America remains relatively
calm, despite the uncertainty swirling around the question of who is the
43rd president. We will remain one nation under God, regardless of who
is ultimately seated as America’s chief executive.
America was the first nation to acknowledge God as its creator.
Despite efforts to remove God from our national psyche, our Constitution
still proudly proclaims that all men are created equal. The operative
phrase here is the acknowledgement that all men are created. That
requires a creator, a being explicitly acknowledged in the document that
governs our nation.
America was blessed above all nations, thanks to the assembly of a
body of men so brilliant, so wise and so God-centered as our founding
fathers. They were a divine blessing that continues to pay dividends.
Thanks to their foresight, we still have a nation strong enough to
endure the kind of division that makes Election 2000 so disturbing, yet
That our republic is divinely blessed is apparent. America is a
nation of firsts. It was the first nation on the face of the earth to
grant the Jew full citizenship — complete with the right to vote. It
was the first nation to accept the reality of God-given rights.
It was the first nation to see the wisdom of separating church and
state without separating the nation from its dependence upon divine
America is a nation under strain — evident as we wrestle with the
consequences of so many of our citizens turning their backs on the
Creator so explicitly acknowledged by our Constitution. But still our
Constitution endures, as does our constitutional form of government.
The election debacle has prompted many nations to poke fun at us, and
we are indeed undergoing a period of national embarrassment. But
embarrassment is not the same thing as national breakdown. Our system
still works, despite the men who have so dedicated themselves to its
destruction to achieve their own selfish ends.
And, with God’s help, it will continue to endure. No matter who
eventually moves in at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, he is ultimately
answerable to the American people, who are themselves consciously
answerable to the God that gave them the unspeakable gift of liberty
that defines us as a nation.