Ken Burns and the Mother of all Human Truths

Ken Burns, the highly respected documentary filmmaker, came out with an editorial endorsement of President Obama in a New Hampshire newspaper. You have to read the comments to get the best picture of what he said, but here is a portion of his thinking:

In this alternative vision, the town’s plutocratic banker, Mr. Potter — without the decent George Bailey to counter him — rules everything. A bottom-line-is-everything, every-man-for-himself mentality runs unchecked, resulting in Bedford Falls’ metamorphosis into “Pottersville,” an amoral, soulless place.

He is comparing Romney to Mr. Potter in the Jimmy Stewart film; “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

I have never been able to locate it, and some day I need to diligently find it again, but I am reminded of a quote from Paul Johnson’s history of the United States (my copy left in Zambia) in which he attributes to George Washington an understanding of human direction linked to self-interest. Nothing bad about it, just something that will help you understand where people are coming from.

Which brings us back to Ken Burns. He wasn’t able to honestly tell us that he, along with Big Bird, depends upon government support of PBS to finance and distribute his films and that is why he supports that candidate of more government spending. He could have et least included or acknowledged this fact in his editorial, but he didn’t.

George Washington would not have been surprised and he wouldn’t have been upset; he would have recognized this truth in Ken’s life as he sought to work with Ken should he have had to on the issues of the day.

We are all Ken Burns, but we should aspire to be George Washington’s also.

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About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
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2 Responses to Ken Burns and the Mother of all Human Truths

  1. The movie has a happy ending, thank goodness, but its themes endure to this day and echo in the current presidential election, which at its core asks the question: What kind of country are we? Are we Bedford Falls or Pottersville? Are we all in this together — and stronger and better because of it — or are we entirely on our own, with a few “makers” on the top of a heap of “takers?” I’m supporting President Barack Obama because there is no question about his answer to that question. Having observed Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts, and then watching him in the Republican primaries as he tacked this way and that whenever it suited him (but mostly to the far right, the Tea Party radicals, even the birthers), I can’t be sure of him.

  2. gold price says:

    The movie has a happy ending, thank goodness, but its themes endure to this day and echo in the current presidential election, which at its core asks the question: What kind of country are we? Are we Bedford Falls or Pottersville? Are we all in this together — and stronger and better because of it — or are we entirely on our own, with a few “makers” on the top of a heap of “takers?” I’m supporting President Barack Obama because there is no question about his answer to that question. Having observed Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts, and then watching him in the Republican primaries as he tacked this way and that whenever it suited him (but mostly to the far right, the Tea Party radicals, even the birthers), I can’t be sure of him.

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