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(See “It’s a Wonderful Life,” American Political Edition (Parts I-V) for all five parts combined and revised)

(Opening scene: Angels, represented by twinkling stars, are talking about a troubled soul on Earth. They review this soul’s life, and the circumstances that led to its present difficulties….)

It was conceived with great hopes in a simpler time, by a variety of generous parents, and a few original sins. England (via the British Empire), in which modern democracy developed; The Enlightenment, characterized by a fluorescence of rationalistic philosophy; a wide-open new land, with an easily displaced indigenous population; abundant imported and bred slave labor. It developed a grandiose vision for itself, one comprised of the somewhat incompatible “manifest destiny” and protection of liberty, and a faith in its own exceptionalism.

But, as often happens, life presented unforeseen challenges which diverted this soul, the sovereign American People, from its youthful dreams. It gradually was forced to confront its original sins, brutally divided by one of them. Innovations complicated the landscape in which its dreams had been formed. It had to cope with a world comprised of other people with interests of their own, people less convinced of the benevolence of this popular sovereignty than that populace itself was.

But despite this diversion from its original dreams, it was the same soul, peforming many good deeds, born of pragmatism rather than idealism, that were not part of the original plan. It grew to address a changing world, doing what needed to be done to increase the welfare of those who depended on it. It intervened in the home of its parents when brutality racked the latter’s fields and towns, and then watched those parents, unencumbered by youthful dreams, combine the best fruits of their child’s aspirations with the reduced purism that comes from maturity.

But something in the people clung to the purity of youthful dreams, sulking with resistance to adulthood’s demands, an error that sometimes characterizes youth. Just at the point when both the people and their government were on the verge of following the mature wisdom of moderation and adaptation, the dreamer within, childish and narcissistic rather than noble and generous, rebelled, and rent this soul in an internal conflict over whether mature moderation would prevail, or childish purism.

The childish purism rebelled in a moment of crisis, and a large faction of the people said, “Government is not the solution, it’s the problem! The world would be better off without this government we’ve allowed to grow and grow, displacing the purity we had believed in and tried to implement in our youth! We would be better off if we had not allowed the lessons of life to adapt those youthful dreams to the demands of reality!”

And so this soul’s guardian angel decided to show it what the world would have been like without that modern government it now wished dead….

(Continued in “Wonderful Life,” Part II)

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