There is something utterly magnificent about the Lincoln Memorial, the vast Greek temple that stands at the western end of the Mall in Washington D.C., commemorating the life and achievements of the 16th President.
For one thing the scale of the monument is something to behold. If the seated Abraham Lincoln were to stand up, he would reach the height of 28 feet. Then on one of the interior walls is inscribed the Gettysburg Address, a quite brilliant 272-word speech that captures the very idea of America, 'a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal'. Finally there is the location. Lincoln looks the down the Mall past the Washington Memorial to the great dome of the US Capitol building, while just to his left is the White House.
As he gazes down upon his successors in Congress and at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Lincoln is frozen forever as a noble and dignified figure, intelligent, contemplative and full of the political courage that so distinguished his career in the White House.
The Memorial features in the opening credits of House of Cards, and as I watched an episode the other day, I couldn't help but think, 'what on earth would he have made of what's going on in the US today?'
It's not an original question, of course. Every day tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions of Americans must ask themselves the same as they absorb the toxic daily dose of absurdity, banality and profanity that passes for a modern Presidential campaign. Most of the rest of us, out in the world, have simply watched on in horror as this political tragedy has unfolded.
A short recap. During the current campaign, truth and facts have become optional for candidates - and perhaps even damaging. Racism and misogyny, charges that would have killed any other Presidential candidate in living memory, have become politically toxic to Donald Trump only at the point at which the latter has spilled over into criminal behaviour - and the Republican Party, Lincoln's party, has legitimised and perhaps even institutionalised it.
The entire 'debate' has been almost utterly bereft of reasoned, credible debate and policy proposals over the most pressing issues of the day and has instead descended to the puerile politics of the playground, where bullying and name-calling have been normalised. Finally, inevitably perhaps given the direction of the campaign over recent weeks, Trump refused to confirm he would accept the verdict of the American people, perpetuating the insidious and baseless claims of his campaign that the 2016 poll is 'rigged' somehow.
From this perspective, a few thousands miles to the east, the American political system looks utterly broken. Campaigns and candidates appear entirely in the thrall of wealthy backers or powerful pressure groups, incapable of breaking free of those shackles and reaching independent conclusions about what is best for America and its people. At the same time the long history of consensus-building and pragmatic compromise in the interests of the country has been all but lost. The coasts and the cities are blue, the south and the heartlands are red and never the twain shall meet. Where once there was fierce but rational and civilised political discourse, there is now the politics of talk radio.
Why does this matter? Well, for all of my lifetime, most of us in Europe and the West have looked to the United States to lead the free world - in defence of liberty, justice and democracy. None of these have ever felt so fragile as they do now, with fascist tendencies and rhetoric on the rise and the rule of law threatened at every turn. America has never been perfect, but it has been there - a courageous and steadfast friend.
From a personal perspective, the current situation is as heart-breaking as it is bewildering. I have loved America since spending much time there as a child. The anger, bitterness and intolerance I see there now makes it unrecognisable from the optimistic, confident, welcoming place I knew.
Irrespective of the result of tomorrow's election, this has not been America's finest hour and the cracks in society that were already becoming visible now threaten to become great dividing chasms.
I am a liberal and so I hope - in common with the vast majority on this continent I suspect - that Hillary Clinton prevails. The alternative, once unimaginable, but now horribly feasible would be catastrophic for America and the world.
Even if she is elected the first female President - an extraordinary achievement in and of itself - the danger is not past. Even if Trump were to accept the result, the divisions in society he has exposed remain.
Lincoln also knew a thing or two about societal schisms and their consequences: ' A house divided against itself cannot stand'.
May God bless America, and us all.