Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

It Is A Wonderful Life

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Total Black: $948.31
Total Red: $230,660.74

While waiting to leave for Christmas mass last night, the family had the television going, mostly for background. Flipping through the channels, I came across the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” and paused.  I’ve always loved that film.  It’s lessons are timeless. The scene I stumbled upon was quite timely to the events of today.  George Bailey was teasing the captive Mary Hatch who had dodged into a nearby shrub for cover when her rob accidentally came loose and fell to the ground.  Just as George is about to pounce, in a manner of speaking, on his captive prey, a car pulls up to tell him that his father had had a stroke.  He hops in the car and rides away, leaving Mary to her robe.  The next scene presents George Bailey stepping into his father’s shoes as he helps wind up his father’s business.  The board of the Bailey Building & Loan, seated around a long table, are debating the necessity of continuing the business and discussing it’s efficacy when George takes on the film’s antagonist, Mr. Potter.  Potter decries George’s father as a miserable businessman and suggests the board shut down the Building & Loan because of it’s meager profits.  George, at first agreeing with Potter about his father’s business acumen, comes to see the need for an alternative to Potter and the banking institutions he controls. For the rabble who do the bulk of the working and eating and living and dying, they need a humane resource to turn to.  Someplace where more than their bottom lines and bank accounts will be factored into the equation. George finally sees this and is presented with the chance to continue his father’s struggle on behalf of the salt of the earth whom Potter decries.  Of course, Bailey accepts.  And in so doing he commits the rest of his life to that course.  Only by the end of the film does he receive a return on his investments, in spades actually, when all those “garlic eaters” Potter dismissed rush to Bailey’s aid.

Nearly seventy years later this film still stands up all other films.  And in many ways it far surpasses other films.  What else do we decry this Christmas but the state of the economy, the unemployment rate, and the greed of Wall Street that got us here.  Isn’t this what George Bailey tongue-lashed Potter about?  The inhumane approach to business that views people as variables in an economic equation.

This Christmas I wish you all the best. But I also wish for something more.  I wish for the Business world to turn a new page in its history.   Let Business stop distracting humanity from its larger goals of community building and self-actualization.  Perhaps the Business community can rediscover its conscious this Christmas. Not in giving more toys to tots, which merely help reinforce greed and materialism in the lower classes.  Instead let Business be business again, and, as Langston Hughes pled, let America be America again.

Maybe the Business world can finally convince that immortal Virginia, and the rest of us, that there truly is a Santa Claus.  A kindly soul concerned not about himself but on serving others.  Merry Christmas.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

December 25, 2009 at 23:11

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