Somewhere, I am sure, there is a grinning puppetmaster, much like the mad doctor in Bride of the Monster, chanting "Pull the Strings!" over and over again in some monstrous Eastern European accent. It's election night in America and something is seriously amiss.

The pundits are both excited and miserable. No more can they wantonly call states the way they used to. No, good heavens, the great gods of instant cable tv news have been taught humility and patience, thank you, Ms. Harris - for your crooked ways have given eyes to the blind and ears to the deaf while making them dumb. Now, like Frankenstein Monsters every last one, they lumber through their boring numerical recitations with their mantra, "We just don't know, it's too close to call, there's not enough data, we just don't know."

One thing is almost certain though. This election is going to close the coffin, probably, on the great bugaboo of American politics of the last forty years. Apathy. That notion that the populace is too apathetic to get a collective hard on for the polls. Too absorbed in themselves to get out there and vote the night away. Reports are in from everywhere. Polls near where I am were open at least until 10 PM, despite officially closing at 7:30. Lines stretched around blocks and then around more. One precinct in Ohio made history as the longest recorded voting line in history, and finally closed at 3AM Wednesday morning.

All of this surging interest in the wonders of the American Electoral Process can mean only one thing:

It is going to be the greatest Legitimization of The System since Richard M. Nixon took office. Just let that sink in. No matter who wins, the System is Back! In Black! Don't call it a comeback!

The two main parties in this country, and their varied and wonderful corporate sponsors, have now shattered all the old, useless illusions of the past. First, the idea that the Democratic Party is a progressive institution, dedicated to beating swords into plowshares, rehabilitation over punishment, diplomacy over guns, and a chicken in every pot has been reduced to "pre-emptive strikes aren't all that bad!" (,1,7098310.story?coll=chi-news-hed - reg req - try registrationbytes, tribune). Barack is Gonna Obombya!

On the other hand, the fiscally responsible days of Republicanism are also a faint memory, swept away with the brutal hand of a man and his merry band consumed with robbing from the poor to feed the rich.

On yet another hand, the idea that any serious threat from a third party political candidate can be mounted. Yes, Ralph Nader is upwards of 7000 votes with his paltry campaign. It will be interesting to put that up against the Prohibition Party or Workers World Party when all the numbers are really crunched, sometime early next week.

That's right. All the old glory of American Politics is back! That is, if you live in a swing state and/or you don't know enough about history and politics to see what has happened. We've all lost. Every last one of us. We've been sold out by whatever party we used to hold dear - or we've watched them swept under the rug like so much Whig Dust or Know-Nothing Balls.

Watch out, America. The enforcement of voting was a key part of Saddam Hussein's claim to democracy and legitimacy, as it was in the former Soviet Union. Twenty other nations have compulsory voting. You've stepped a long way toward that this year, as making non-voters seem almost criminal has shown. Why have the government infringe upon free will when you can just have the people do it themselves? There will be record turnouts in many parts of the nation. We may see the first turnout of more than sixty percent in years.

It's legitimization of Empire.

And you all thought I was just blowing smoke.