The Year in The Nation

This era in our public life seems sure to be remembered for its frequent outbursts of political and legal hysteria--round-the-clock, cable-televised scrums of lawyers, pols and pundits scuffling over the latest Great American Court Case. First O.J., then Bill and Monica, and finally, in 2000, Elian and then George W. vs. Al. Maybe it's fitting that both of this year's courthouse telethons played out in South Florida--the sun-bleached, strip-malled, multicultural face of America's future.

For the first six months, the nation argued the fate of Elian Gonzalez, the 6-year-old miracle child rescued off the Florida coast after a shipwreck had killed...

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