October 17, 2022

By Arthur H. Gunther III

     America needs a good story, from sea to shining sea, in the hustings, in the gothams, on the farms, in the mountains and valleys, in the panhandle and among the poor, the rich, the in-between, the Republican, the Democrat, the independent, among all of whatever ethnic, immigrant or native background, among those of pessimism and optimism, among the prejudiced and the clear-thinkers.

     We are but one people, forged in both violence – the chasing of the frontier, the Civil War, world wars, survival – and compassion – the tears and neighborly comfort in storm and other loss. But we are also argumentative – the debate of 1776 and what sort of nation we must become and maintain – and we are fixed in our ways – the country fellow who dislikes cities; the urbanite who can’t sleep without the cacophony of car horns and fire truck sirens.

     Now this nation, shuddering in 2022 at brinkmanship from extreme, polarized political belief that seeks no compromise, heads for Pottersville, the dismal town in “It’s a Wonderful Life” that runs on greed, villainy, corruption, hedonism and suspicion when it should keep the sign at “Bedford Falls” where family support, the laughter of small children, the warm smiles of an honest working man who needs dental work prevail amongst real, challenging everyday worries.

     All is not hunky-dory in Bedford Falls, never will be. That’s the point. You have good days and bad days, Just like America.

     That’s our story. We must re-read it.

     The writer is a retired newspaperman.