(political notebook)

From the Democrats of Hemet-San Jacinto 

The holidays have come and gone. This time of year inspires us to reminisce about holidays past and to try to look into the future, hoping the best is yet to come. Frank Sinatra sang a song composed by Cy Coleman, with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh entitled “The Best is Yet to Come”, a love song of sorts.

Many of us have Holiday traditions that we repeat every year. We sing our favorite carols, have a traditional holiday meal, attend a special worship service, etc. We watch our favorite holiday shows on television. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” has been around since 1965. My favorite is “It’s a Wonderful Life”. From Wikipedia  “It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, based on the short story and booklet The Greatest Gift, which Philip Van Doren Stern wrote in 1939 and published privately in 1943. The film is one of the most beloved in American cinema, and has become traditional viewing during the Christmas season.”

Watching the movie this Christmas Eve I couldn’t help placing the main characters, James Stewart as George Bailey and Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter, into today’s political parties. I see Mr. Potter as a staunch conservative, placing his personal interests before others, perhaps having a narcissistic personally disorder. We have all known people like Mr. Potter. George Bailey, on the other hand, wanted to see the world and build great things, but couldn’t put those personal desires before what he saw as his duty to help others. George Bailey sacrificed his own interests and put others first. I see George Bailey as a liberal today. This is over simplification of course. A complete personality cannot be developed in a 2 hour movie. I know conservatives who on a personal level do wonderful things for others. If only they would let their personal feelings of compassion and empathy out of their box and into the world of politics. And of course I know of liberals who have done some very selfish things. But generalizing, this is what I see.

Sunday on CNN, Anderson Cooper reflected upon the legacy of a few famous people who have died this past year and what the legacy of current politicians might be. Ross Perot died in July. While many will remember his running for President, some will remember his personal involvement in freeing two of his employees from a jail in Iran. The story is told in the book “On Wings of Eagles” by Ken Follett. It’s a legacy anyone would be proud to have. John Paul Stevens served faithfully as a Supreme Court Justice for 35 years, passed away in July. You might be hearing some of his opinions during the upcoming impeachment trial. Elijah Cummings represented much of Baltimore in the House of Representatives from 1996 until he passed in October. A fierce champion of human rights and tolerance, the City of Baltimore is renaming a courthouse in his name.

What will the legacy be of those who refuse to address climate change when the severe effects that are already here get even worse. How are you supporting our democracy or helping those in need. How are you supporting the general welfare of our city, our state, our Country. Will you be remembered as a Mr. Potter or a George Bailey.

Dick Gale
President of the Democrats of Hemet – San Jacinto

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