posted on Dec, 25 2015 @ 01:18 AM
My family and I are observing our yearly tradition, watching 'It's A Wonderful Life' on Christmas eve. It's in my personal top 5 films of all
time, and for very good reason. It's probably the best illustration of holiday/Christmas values. But it also contains themes and lessons about
liberty, freedom, and generosity vs. selfishness and greed... lessons that are instantly understandable by adults and children alike, and that are
just as applicable today as they were in 1946, the year of the film's release.
Of course, there's that old universal message: Love, family and friendship is infinitely superior to greed and materialism, especially when we all
live our lives that way. And then we see that life is the most precious of all gifts, and even in the darkest of our days, it's an unimaginably
magical gift to be alive and breathing, sharing our experiences, all of our joys and sorrows, with those closest to us.
But for tonight's purposes, I'm talking about greed vs. generosity, togetherness and community support vs. willful ignorance and conceit. This is
clearly depicted as the wise and helpful main character, George Bailey, confronts the movie's villain and the embodiment of those timeless banking
cartels and usurers, Henry F. Potter. Soon after the death of his father, George is faced with the possibility of his family business, the town's
Building and Loan, being bought by the evil Mr. Potter. Put in charge, he'd certainly raise rents, end the Baileys' flexible and forgiving financial
policies, and put many struggling families out on the street. One of the movie's greatest moments comes when George addresses Potter and the town's
board of directors, and tells them how it is:
"Now hold on just a minute, Mr. Potter. You're right when you say my father was no business man. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap,
penny-ante Building and Loan, I'll never know. But neither you nor anybody else can say anything against his character, because in his whole life--
Why, in the twenty-five years since he and Uncle Billy started this thing, he never once thought of himself. Isn't that right, Uncle Billy? He
didn't save enough money to send Harry to school, let alone me. But he did help a few people get outta your slums, Mr. Potter... and what's wrong
"What'd you say just a minute ago? They should have to wait and save their money before they even think of a decent home. Wait? Wait for what?!
Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they're old and broken-down?? You know how long it takes a workin' man to save five thousand
dollars? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about, they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this
community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn't think so.
People were human beings to him, but to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they're cattle. Well, in my book, he died a much richer man than you'll
EVER be. And I know what you're talking about - you're talking about something you can't get your fingers on, and it's galling you, I know. But
this town needs this measly one-horse institution... if only to have some place where people can come, without crawling to Potter!"
(slightly paraphrased to shorten for this thread)
Is that great or what?? I'd say George Bailey's words ring truer today than ever. We live in a time where central banks hold a dangling sword above
every nation's currencies. Where our fake money is backed up by absolutely nothing, and as individual members of the financial community, our value
is judged by our ability to stay in debt, a 'credit score'. Where our hard-earned taxes have been used not to repair our infrastructure or improve
our schools, but to bail out unscrupulous and criminal corporations, and no one is ever held accountable. If those banks and soulless corporate
figures had their way, there'd be no alternative but for us all to come crawling to them generation after generation, while they lower our pay and
tighten the screws of taxes and inflation/devaluation ever tighter.
And this just occurred to me- in George's rant, he asks how long it would take a working man to save up five thousand dollars. In 1946, that amount
represented the purchase price of a middle-class family home... Let that one sink in.
Well here we are seventy years later, looking over the edge of 2016. We're paid a lot more these days, sure. But last time I checked, home prices
have increased more than a little bit. And five grand still isn't easy to save up, at least not for me.
Sorry for the length of this post, it kinda got away from me. [raises drink] Here's hoping we're all a little better off the next time I watch
'It's A Wonderful Life'.
Merry Christmas, happy solstice, or holidays, or Festivus, or whatever it is you celebrate, my wise ATS friends. I wish you and your families all a
safe, healthy, and prosperous new year. Cheers!