Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Why It's a Wonderful Life

A blessed holiday season to you and yours from all of us at The Bernie Blog.

Why It's a Wonderful Life
by Kara Post-Kennedy

As far as holiday traditions go, spending time with family and watching the classic film It’s a Wonderful Life have become fairly ubiquitous. There’s nothing like kin in close quarters to inspire in us a need to be uplifted!  Ha.  My family, like many others I know, boasts a wide variety of political views, which makes for spicy conversation.  Personally, I think a wide variety of political views is a hallmark of great parenting. If all the kids grow up to have the exact same belief system,  that’s something called “brainwashing”, right?  

Anyhow, this Thanksgiving the “spicy” topic of Donald Trump came up. No surprise as there is no escaping the man, even at your own kitchen table.  Turns out the view that Donald Trump is nuts was the consensus from both sides of the aisle.  The possibility that his actual intention is to undermine the Republican Party by making them look like a bunch of intolerant extremists was floated without argument. The only point of contention that arose, in fact, was when the opinion that Bernie Sanders is also “crazy” was introduced.  

 My reaction? When did having high-minded ideals and dreams of a strong and thriving middle class become a “pie-in-the-sky” proposition in this country?  With Donald Trump doing well in the polls, I have to ask:  When did the paradigm shift happen that allowed so many people to start rooting for Mr. Potter instead of George Bailey?

For those of you unfamiliar with the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey is the hero, a man who sacrifices his dreams to run a family building and loan company, the only thing standing between the middle class families of his town and a selfish, greedy miser named Mr. Potter.  Because Bailey Building & Loan is cutting into his bottom line, Mr. Potter tries to lure George away from his humble life with grandiose promises of wealth and freedom from the weight of what George sees as his moral responsibility to his fellow man.  Potter tells George, “We’ll have so much winning, you’ll get bored with winning!”  

 Oh wait, no… Donald Trump said that.  

What Mr. Potter said was, “You wouldn't mind living in the nicest house in town. Buying your wife a lot of fine clothes, going to New York on a business trip a couple of times a year...”  George’s response to this offer is unselfish and wise: “You sit around here and you spin your little webs and you think the whole world revolves around you and your money.  Well, it doesn't, Mr. Potter!”  

Donald Trump has said, “I’m really rich. And by the way, I’m not saying that in a bragging way; that’s the kind of mindset you need for this country.”  Lionel Barrymore, who plays Mr. Potter, even scrunches up his face into the same weird scowl Trump does.  Role model alert!
The crux of the conflict between Mr. Potter and George is that Mr. Potter believes that giving the middle class a break will result in “a discontented, lazy rabble”.  Donald Trump has said, “If you're interested in 'balancing' work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable.”  

But Americans work longer hours for lower wages, take less vacations and retire later than the citizens of any other developed country on earth.  Do you supposed the burn-out and discouragement the middle class is feeling right now might best be solved by “whistling while we work”?   

Bernie Sanders thinks that raising the minimum wage might actually be somewhat more helpful.  He has said, “In the year 2015, no one who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty.”  Does that really seem like a crazy ideal?  

 In the movie, the first time Mr. Potter tries to shut down Bailey Building & Loan, George is incredulous that the man is actually against his father’s goal of helping middle class families realize their dream of home ownership.:  “Doesn't it make them better citizens? Doesn't it make them better customers?” George asks.  Donald Trump says “having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country” and has no plans to raise it.  Do you want to know who having a low minimum wage is great for?  Corporations and business people like Trump that can increase their wealth on the backs of men and women living in poverty.  

 Is this the wonderful life we dreamed of as Americans?

The climax of the clash between George’s high ideals and Mr. Potter’s self-interest comes when George’s forgetful Uncle Billy loses an $8,000 bank deposit, effectively destroying the business that both George and his father fought so long and hard to maintain.  When Mr. Potter swoops in like the vulture that he is, the people of the community rally behind George. Everyone contributes as they can to save the day.  

Oo, that sounds a little socialist, doesn’t it?   

Bernie Sanders calls himself a “Democratic Socialist." He says  it means, “We must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy”.  He proposes universal health care and free college tuition, things that are working in other thriving societies like Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. 

Here’s the question we should be asking ourselves:  If we have successful working models in wealthy countries of Democratic Socialism, what exactly is our objection to it?  Are we afraid we’ll have so much winning we’ll get bored with winning?  Why are we so moved when everyone contributes what they can to save George (and their town as well) but so offended by the idea that the rich can afford to pitch in more to save their fellow citizens (and country).   

Perhaps you're saying to yourself, “Well, that is just a movie and this is real life!”  And I will say to you, "Why can’t real life be wonderful, too?" Not just for those from privileged backgrounds but for all of us?  Why is a man (Mr. Potter) who keeps the $8,000 he doesn’t need that could save his neighbor considered a villain in a movie--but a similar man (Trump) is a contending presidential candidate in real life?  

Bio:  I am a Mom, writer and blogger at Your New Best Friendhttp://karapostkennedy.blogspot.com/ 

Bright Lights for Bernie Shine Over Toledo 

 December 18th may have been the new Star Wars movie premiere, but it was also the debut of Bernie's Light Brigade in Toledo, Ohio. These brave Buckeye Bernie supporters donned lots of warm clothing (temperatures were well below freezing after dark) and stood on a busy overpass bridge at Monroe Avenue and I-475, as well as a few other street corners in the area. They report that they got quite a few honks and "Go Bernie!" thumbs up from drivers and passers-by.  Don't their signs look awesome? Click on this link to learn out more about how you and your friends can become members of Bernie's Light Brigade today. Feel free to email photos from your events to The Bernie Blog so we can share them with others. Thank you.

Bernie's Light Brigade--brightening the world and sharing the love and hope of the Bernie Sanders Revolution.  Enjoy the lights and #FeeltheBern everyone!



  1. Replies
    1. LOL!! Cute video, Mickey. Anyone else with a "video holiday card for Bernie" to share? ;)

      #FeeltheBern and deck the halls with votes for Bernie--tra, la, la, la, la...la, la, la, la!

  2. "When did the paradigm shift happen that allowed so many people to start rooting for Mr. Potter instead of George Bailey?" Good analogy and a good question! It's what's wrong with the GOP and the 'Republican-lite' Clinton campaign. We need Bernie Sanders for a healthier America and a healthier world.

    1. Yes, it's a great analogy and super question. Why are we glorifying hate speech and bigotry? When did America become a fascist society where only the super rich have a voice and the working man is looked upon as the "enemy" to be used, abused and dumped in favor of mega-profits for the corporate elite? I know the first time I saw "It's a Wonderful Life" as a child I wanted to call the police and have that mean, nasty Mr. Potter arrested for theft and for being cruel to George Bailey, his friends and his family!

      Bernie Sanders -- a true hero to the ordinary American. #FeeltheBern and vote #Bernie2016

    2. It's a Wonderful Life was posted on my website as soon as I joined the Bernie Movement. Great Blog piece. Love the Light Brigade, too. #FeeltheBern #BernieSanders.

    3. #FeeltheBern Jane! We're glad you enjoyed the blog. :)


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