Yesterday, the Christian Science Monitor asked “If we can require driver’s ed for teens, then why not voter’s ed?” It’s a good question, but it unravels when you start to ask what would be taught in that class. If you try to educate would-be voters on any of the actual issues involved in the current polls, you’ll be accused instantly of having an agenda: talk about the truth on Social Security and you’ll be called a liberal, if not an outright socialist, for example.
This Christmas, we decided to go ahead and watch the classic movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. You probably know the story: George Bailey runs a small bank in a small town in an honest and community-responsible way, and continually butts heads with the owner of the big, regional bank. Mr. Potter — unlike modern bankers — never actually does anything illegal, but he sure does some things that aren’t entirely *ahem* Christian. Thanks to the help of a friendly Angel, George gets to see what a mess the world would be without him.
At some point it occurred to me that It’s a Wonderful Life probably ought to be required viewing for Americans. Now, granted some people in the FBI thought it was communist propaganda. They thought everything was communist propaganda. But who can watch Bedford Falls transform into Pottersville and think that they are totally alone in the world? Who can watch the mess that unregulated monopolies [accidentally] create without thinking there is some necessary reigning in of big business? Who can really say it’s a bad thing for people to look out for one another in times of need?
Then I thought a little deeper, and realized that to balance out this movie’s religious overtones you really need more Jimmy Stewart. First, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, another Frank Capra directed film, featuring a naive new Senator coming up against The Way Washington Works. Not only does this demonstrate unfortunate truths about politics, it shows a genuine filibuster, and the power of pressure from voters.
Finish out the film festival with a much later Jimmy Stewart film, Strategic Air Command — and I don’t just say that because I have a soft spot for Carswell AFB in Fort Worth. It’s another great movie with strong themes of service to country and family, showing us what our Armed Forces are supposed to be about (hint: it’s not about blowing up brown people on the other side of the globe).
There you have it: 6 hours of classic movie viewing that every American should see on an annual basis.
In Closing: the Cult of Rand; the Germans think we’re insane; scientists disagree, so let’s throw them out of the discussion; everything’s illegal; reconsidering triclosan; look what the TARP covered up (interesting picture, and interesting banner in the background); economics of contempt; on personal responsibility; on job creation and the economy (I hope this is right); great patent; come on, the guy’s got a Nobel Prize; and a laugh.