By Patrick Colbeck
Call me an ole softy, but I still tear up every time I watch the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life“.
Why is this movie so endearing to so many people?
Well, the details may vary from person to person, but I believe there is a common thread among all those who leak water out of their eyelids while watching this timeless treasure.
Before I highlight this common thread, I would first like to highlight an important facet of life in general that was evident in the movie.
Life is a series of decisions.
George Bailey risked his own life to save his brother Harry from drowning.
George risked his job and physical harm when he speaks up to pharmacist Mr. Gower in order to prevent him from poisoning a customer while he was distraught.
George risked his personal dreams to travel the world in order to fill his dad’s shoes upon his passing and run the Baily Building & Loan.
George risked his independence to marry his “Buffalo Gal” Mary.
George and Mary sacrificed their honeymoon funds to bankroll the needs of savings and loans clients during a financial crisis.
What is the common thread that binds all of these decisions together in such a heartwarming manner in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”?
In each of these decisions, George freely chose to enable the dreams of others over his own personal dreams.
Another way of putting it is that he loved his neighbor as himself.
Decisions that put the best interests of others before oneself resonate as true. It is part of who we are. I for one invariably choke up whenever I hear or experience a beautiful truth so profound that it shakes me to my core.
The salient fact is that while the “American Dream” is often cast as a selfish, individual pursuit, in reality, this “Dream” is made possible in America because of countless decisions made by individuals who seek the best interests of others. The true miracle of America is that Americans have made these decisions without the force of government.
Force of government is how such “selfless” decisions are made in all of the socialist “utopias” around the world. Despite all of their propaganda to the contrary, these socialist states only achieve the dreams of a privileged group of elitists who think they know what’s best for everyone .
Traditional America is a lot like Bedford Falls. To be sure, it has its trials and tribulations, but there is a common thread of goodness that binds everyone together. It is this bond that is behind the fact that America has an immigration problem not an emigration problem. People from all over the world want to come to America.
In a quote often attributed to French jurist Alexis de Tocqueville, “America is great because it is good. If it ever ceases to be good it will cease to be great.”
Unfortunately, there are many people who are not interested in America being good. They do not put the best interests of others before their own. There are many budding Mr. Potter elitists who seek to fundamentally transform America into Pottersville.
Oh…you wouldn’t know it from their colorful prose, slogans or speeches. It is readily apparent from their actions, however.
They are known by the fruit of their labors.
George Bailey was given a special gift. He was given a glimpse of the void that would be left if he was not alive to make the decisions that he made.
Americans do not need such a supernatural gift to see what life would be like without it. We only need to look at the socialist world throughout history and around us today without the propaganda prism of the mainstream media.
Pottersville looks tame in comparison to the despair and poverty found in once prosperous Caraccas, Venezuela.
What does all of this reflection have to do with “Fixin’ Stuff”?
Let’s Fix Stuff is about promoting solutions. We hold fast to what works and do our best to expose what doesn’t work. The movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” may be fiction, but it has stood the test of time because it shares fundamental truth in a compelling way.
America is at a crossroads today. Should we cede our freedom to a group of Pottersville elitists under the guise of safety and security? Or, should we instead promote the selfless values of all of the Bedford Falls George Baileys.
There are those who would have you believe that traditional American values have run their course and are no longer appropriate for today’s society. They couldn’t be further from the truth. History and common sense teach us that true riches come from traditional American values found in Bedford Falls not the decadent musings of the elitists who always leave Pottersvilles in their decision wakes.
George Bailey’s selfless decisions of his own free will are at the heart of why Harry Bailey could toast “To my big brother George, the richest man in town.”