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 political heap.
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 somehow, reassuring.
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 principles.
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.
Hal Lindsey is the best-selling non-fiction writer alive today. Among his 20 books are "Late Great Planet Earth," his follow-up on that explosive best seller, "Planet Earth: The Final Chapter," and "Everlasting Hatred: The Roots of Jihad." He writes this weekly column exclusively for WorldNetDaily.