Why isn’t it a Wonderful Life?

George BaileyEvery year at Christmas, I watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and am reminded of the value of doing good for others and having friends.  I love how when George is in trouble, his friends all gather to help him.  They never question his need – they just trust that George is a good man and he needs their help.   There is a happy ending in the movie.  The hero is rewarded with trust, goodwill and friendship.  And the bad guy doesn’t win.

And every year, I am disappointed to find that real life doesn’t mirror what happens in the movies.  In real life, in 2010, George Bailey would have been roasted at the spit by the media.  They would have sold thousands of papers (and banner ads on websites) splashing headlines that he was stealing from the bank.  They would have said Uncle Billy was in on the scam too.  The media would have camped out in front of his house, broadcasting an ever increasing stream of rumors and allegations.  

Someone would have said George was planning to leave for Jamaica with the harlot Violet and take the money with him. They would torment his wife and children each time they left the house.  Whether George lived in Chicago or the small town of Morris.  They would have hunted him down to find the most tantalizing story angle in an effort to  to get more readers or viewers and more ad dollars.  And every blogger with an interest in banking would have repeated all the false stories they read, spreading the “news” throughout the web.

To make matters worse, George’s friends would turn their backs – believing the lies that were written despite having known George all his life.  They would grab their 10 seconds of fame to say something bad about George in the news – whether they really knew him or not.  They wouldn’t give him a second chance or the benefit of the doubt. And the bad guys would have won, destroying George and his good name.  No singing of Auld Lang Syne in his parlor.  Just the needless destruction of a man who gave of himself unselfishly all his life.

I find myself wishing that real life was so much more like the movies.  Where heroes are rewarded for their efforts and friends stand up for them, even when it is hard to do.  Where the media actually presents both sides of a story instead of just the “sexy” side of an alleged fallen heroes.  Where the bad guys are punished and the good guys win.    I hope some day my wishes come true.

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