That fateful January evening was the most spectacular disaster in the history of the federal government, and millions of people watched it live on TV. Just as GW Bush was set to deliver his State of the union speech, the Capitol disintegrated in a huge explosion that devastated everything in a half mile radius and damaged quite a lot in a five mile radius. Fortunately, loss of life outside the center of the blast was relatively low. But both houses of Congress, the entire Supreme Court, most of the Cabinet, and a heap of other dignitaries were completely annihilated.
At first, most folks assumed that the blast was the work of terrorists or a hostile foreign power, but it was immediately determined beyond any scintilla of doubt that the Capitol had been destroyed by a small asteroid. It was clearly an Act of God, and that the object had hit the Capitol squarely just when almost the whole political class was in it seemed to many an unequivocal message of divine disapproval.
Pundits and preachers tried to interpret God’s message. Some said God’s wrath had come down because the United States had not done enough for Israel. Some claimed that it was because of either the treatment or mistreatment of homosexuals. But most folks reckoned that God’s message was clear as a bell. God had smitten the federal government for being the federal government, and nobody much wanted to tempt God by reinstituting it. The acting President, the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, urged Americans to rebuild, but sentiment against it was too widespread. The people were not in the mood to wage a Global War on God and reckoned that they would content themselves with the 50 states as sovereign entities.