“Merry Christmas, movie house!”
“Merry Christmas, Emporium!”
“Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!”
We are in dire trouble, my dear friends. We’re living in a country ordered, owned, and operated, by Henry F. Potter. He assaults us from on high with his amoral declarations. He robs our pockets with the help of his affluent cronies. He buys our justice department with his taxpayer money lined pockets. He is the most visible aspect of capitalism without restraint, a corrupt and twisted symbol of avarice, greed, and the insatiable lust for power and influence.
He and his fellow carpetbaggers are ransacking not just the potential wealth and prosperity of the nation, but also her values and ethics. They’re not the first, not by a long shot, but they are the most blatant examples. No, Bedford Falls has been dying for some time now, and Henry F. Potter’s reign is only the capstone sitting atop the garish gold plated stone edifice that has become her mausoleum.
Corporations have, in general, been angling in this direction for decades. We are the investor nation, worshippers of the wealth building laggard who profits off of misery and suffering, while declaring themselves job creators and champions of the working class.
This delusion on their part has been espoused for decades. It can even be heard spouting from the lips of this post’s titled namesake:
“What does that get us? A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty working class. And all because a few starry-eyed dreamers like Peter Bailey stir them up and fill their heads with a lot of impossible ideas!”
See, they’re saving you from yourselves. By cutting your healthcare, by raising your taxes, by denying you your rights, they’re helping the poor. They do this by making certain you stay firmly in your station, and aware that at any moment they could make your life even worse if you so much as utter a peep in protest. They have control over you, these self-benevolent oligarchs, and the Henry F. Potter in the White House wants to make sure you’re aware of it, too.
The sadness comes in the willingness for people to accept their 50 cents on the dollar because they’re in a panic, rather than band together and lift each other out of poverty and keep all of what is already rightfully theirs. I don’t speak only of economic poverty, but poverty of the heart, of the mind, the poverty of knowledge, and of self-worth. By keeping us distracted by glittering lights that dazzle, and by dividing us with “the foreigners want to steal your jobs!”, they keep us from rising up and making Bedford Falls whole again, prosperous again.
They idealize the notion that to be poor is to be noble, that it’s your cross to bear, that you should suffer in silence, and absolutely do NOT attempt to lay those problems at the feet of those who have more in life, that those who did not work any harder than you, if at all, can possess more wealth just shows that they’re more worthy, that they have something you lack, and it isn’t their fault that you lack it. Quit trying to get them to pay for your mistakes, friend. Don’t you realize it’s all your fault? They seized all opportunities whereas you failed, not they, for they are smarter, better, richer, and that makes them more moral. You would do better as a romanticized populace, oppressed for all of the right reasons that satisfy their desires to crush you underfoot as the nameless rabble you are.
That is what Henry F. Potter wants you to believe.
Of course, George Bailey nailed the heart of the issue all of those years ago, responding aptly to Mr. Potter’s utter bullshit when he said:
“Just a minute… just a minute. Now, hold on, Mr. Potter.
You’re right when you say my father was no businessman. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I’ll never know. But neither you nor anyone else can say anything against his character, because his whole life was… why, in the 25 years since he and his brother, Uncle Billy, started this thing, he never once thought of himself. Isn’t that right, Uncle Billy? He didn’t save enough money to send Harry away to college, let alone me. But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter, and what’s wrong with that?
Why… here, you’re all businessmen here. Doesn’t it make them better citizens? Doesn’t it make them better customers? You… you said… what’d you say a minute ago? They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they’re so old and broken down that they… Do you know how long it takes a working man to save $5,000? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about… they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath?
Anyway, my father didn’t think so. People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they’re cattle. Well in my book, my father died a much richer man than you’ll ever be!”
Henry F. Potter doesn’t care if you live or die. He does not care about your children, your dreams, nothing. He does not care, because there will always be those willing to give in to his demands, people who believe what he says, who believe that they, too, can be wealthy if only they follow the man who only has money on his mind, and humanity in his back pocket.
We’ve sold the sleepy town of Bedford Falls to Henry F. Potter, and we’ve begged him to turn it into a bustling capital of avarice, greed, and unseized opportunity. He kept his word, at least the one he gave to his fellow charlatans, and now we live in a place where dreams are within reach, as long as you don’t need them, and where money flows freely, as long as it’s already yours. For everyone else, there is only anger, loneliness, and poverty, and that too costs far more than they can pay.
The worst thing about it? We are replete with Henry F. Potters. For each one that falls, another will take his place, because we sold our warm, beating hearts for the cold glittering promise of golden chains.
Welcome to Pottersville.
“Merry Christmas, movie house!”