Thursday, December 24, 2020

It's a Wonderful Life, Huh?

On this Christmas that doesn't feel like Christmas at all, let's revisit an old tale that once brought light to a dark world. For a world in which there is no light, only dark, enjoy this updated telling that sums up our times all too well.

Bedford Falls, recently renamed BLM Falls, is in its third month of lockdown. Most businesses have gone under, forcing everyone to buy from the bankrupt stores Mr. Potter has bought up for pennies on the dollar. 

Storefronts are boarded up from the summer's riots. Historical statues, deemed racist, have either been toppled or removed. 

Lockdown protestors are told to shut up and go home, lest they kill Grandma. 

The people are sick of Potter, but they feel helpless to do anything about him. They tried voting in a town council that would favor the people over Potter, but he rigged the election in his favor. 

"Cases Spike," the papers scream, as they have for months, as George Bailey walks by the newsstand. He's tried writing letters to the editor, but they always get returned, with the paper's editors rejecting his views as dangerous misinformation. They've been threatening to go to Potter to get George canceled if he doesn't stop. 

Not that it would matter: George lost his job at the building and loan -- not for doing anything wrong, but because the board decided it needed more persons of color representing the business. He was losing his livelihood in the name of justice and equity, they told him. But justice and equity don't feed hungry kids. 

Wondering how it's come to this, George wanders helplessly through the darkened streets. No bars or restaurants are open where he could duck in for a drink to help take off the edge. 

Bert and Ernie, the cops, working in cahoots with Potter, stop George and ask him where his mask is. Tired of explaining that masks don't do anything and the virus has over a 99% survival rate, making all the panic pointless, he takes his latest fine from the cops, thumbs his nose at their threats of arrest and their attempts to guilt and shame him into compliance, and stumbles aimlessly through the snow, dark, and cold. 

George thinks about the family dinner that was canceled, after Potter ordered no inter-family visits. "It's just one Christmas. Shut up, you peasants," Potter demands, as he prepares to fly out of town for a maskless celebration with his friends, family, and rich cronies. 

With a sigh, George shuffles toward the bridge. He leans over, looking at the cold waters far below. Surely, he thinks, there must be some reason to go on. Maybe it's not as bad as he's made it out to be. Maybe things will get better. Maybe there are still some decent people in the world who will help him fight for freedom and reason. 

Just then he hears a voice. He looks over to see a man -- safely six feet away, of course. Human contact is a thing of the past and is to be feared and avoided at all costs. 

Maybe this man is an angel, George thought. Maybe he'll be my lifeline. Maybe he'll literally talk me down off the ledge. Maybe he'll help make the world better at last. 

"Can I help you?" George asks. 

"Where's your mask, you selfish bastard?" the man screamed. "Do you want everyone to die?" 

Shaking his head, George jumps. 

The end.

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