I haven't rewatched It's a Wonderful Life yet this year, but I get a little verklempt just thinking about it.
I wonder if maybe we ought to show Frank Capra's masterpiece on July 4 as well as Christmas.
Robert Reich gets that Frank Capra was telling us much more than "Merry Christmas":
...we are still in danger of the “Pottersville” Capra saw as the consequence of what happens when Americans fail to join together and forget the meaning of the public good.
If Lionel Barrymore’s “Mr. Potter” were alive today he’d call himself a “job creator” and condemn George Bailey as a socialist. He’d be financing a fleet of lobbyists to get lower taxes on multi-millionaires like himself, overturn environmental laws, trample on workers’ rights, and shred social safety nets. He’d fight any form of gun control. He’d want the citizens of Pottersville to be economically insecure – living paycheck to paycheck and worried about losing their jobs – so they’d be dependent on his good graces.
The Mr. Potters are still alive and well in America, threatening our democracy with their money and our common morality with their greed.
Call me naive or sentimental but I still believe the George Baileys will continue to win this contest. They know we’re all in it together, and that if we succumb to the bullying selfishness of the Potters we lose America and relinquish the future [Robert Reich, "Where Are We Heading—Bedford Falls or Pottersville?" blog, 2012.12.22].
As you watch tonight, think about two of the most jarring parts of George Bailey's otherworld experience. In Pottersville, fear withers and overwhelms Mary. Fear makes her timid and nearly unrecognizable.
And then Bert, the man who in Bedford Falls serenades George and Mary on their honeymoon, opens fire on the friend he does not know. In Pottersville, when a man needs help, bullets fly in a public square.
It's a Wonderful Life addresses faith in God, but it's more about faith in our fellow Americans. It's a call to stand against fear and greed. It's a call to live the Christmas spirit in all of our business and civic affairs.