Ask Santa for American democracy this Christmas (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington + It’s A Wonderful Life)

by Bob Schwartz

Jefferson Smith: And this country is bigger than the Taylors, or you, or me, or anything else. Great principles don’t get lost once they come to light; they’re right here! You just have to see them again.

I walked in to find my nearest and dearest one watching Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). The movie stars Jimmy Stewart, in one of his two most iconic film roles. The other is the Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life (1946), also directed by Frank Capra.

For those who don’t know, Mr. Smith is about an idealistic small town everyman who ends up in the U.S. Senate, where he discovers that his lifelong hero has been corrupted by the political machine—a machine that will do anything to get its way, even hurt children and destroy democracy. The good news, in the movie at least, is that democracy lives and prevails.

Thinking about Mr. Smith and Wonderful Life together, an idea was hatched. This Christmas, why not add American democracy to your list for Santa? Where you stack it on the list is up to you. Maybe you don’t believe in Santa, maybe if you believe in Santa you think that for him, American democracy is just too big an ask. Go ahead anyway. We have nothing to lose more than we already have and might.