(Continued from “Wonderful Life,” Part II; see “It’s a Wonderful Life,” American Political Edition (Parts I-V) for all five parts combined and revised)
“Second,” the angel said, “let’s look at what your country and world would have been like had you not had a strong federal government to hold the country together, pursue its collective interests, and impose its core values on its constituent parts (leaving aside for the moment the issues of so-called ‘activist courts’ and of the rise of the ‘administrative state’).
“It took a strong federal government to end slavery and hold the union together during and after the Civil War. A century later, it took a strong federal government, complete with National Guard, to enforce court-ordered desegregation. And it took a strong federal government to pass The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which utilized attenuated Commerce Clause power to prohibit racial discrimination by private owners of commercial institutions.
“It took a strong federal government, captured by the will of the people in a series of populists and progressive movements in the later 19th and early 20th centuries, to rein in ‘the robber barons,’ and redress the biggest disparity of wealth in this country ever…, until today, when we have finally exceeded it. It took a strong federal government to give the country hope during The Great Depression, and, despite the revisionism popular with the right today, launch the record-setting economic growth in its midst (from 1933-1937), until budget hawks managed to convince to FDR to compromise his policies to their concerns.
“It took a strong federal government to mobilize the country and lead the allies during World War II, and to lead NATO during the Cold War.
“Without these efforts, slavery might still be extant, and, certainly, Jim Crow (American ‘Apartheid’) would still be in some regions. The country would have fractured not just into two as a result of the southern cessation, but into multiple tiny republics, neither viable on their own nor of any import on the world stage.
“Mexico and Canada, our more successful neighbors to the north and south (in this alternative reality), probably would have annexed large chunks of what would otherwise have been The United States. European and World History would have been different, possibly with fascism having prevailed in Europe and, eventually, having threatened the tiny, weak republics across the Atlantic, in what would otherwise have been The United States of America.
“There would have been nothing other than fascist Europe to check Soviet and Chinese expansion, and, it is more probable, given the lack of moral compass of both, that they simply would have arrived at a mutually agreeable division of the world into competing but mutually accommodating and reinforcing tyrannies.
“Without a federal government as strong as this one has been, there would be no ‘United States’ today, certainly no liberties in some regions for those who were deprived them historically, and quite probably a more tyrannical world in general.”
(Continued in “Wonderful Life,” Part IV)