Meet John Doe: Wake up and share that Christmas spirit, you’re the hope of the world

Paul Gorski
Paul Gorski

By Paul Gorski

The name of this column is taken from the movie Meet John Doe. Without giving too much of the story away, an out-of-work baseball player becomes an inspiration to the nation. He is asked to speak to the nation via a national radio broadcast about the hopes and the aspirations of the common man circa 1941. Here’s is an excerpt from that speech:

I know a lot of you are saying, ‘What can I do? I’m just a little punk. I don’t count.’ Well, you’re dead wrong. The little punks have always counted because in the long run, the character of a country is the sum total of the character of its little punks.

But we’ve all got to get in there and pitch. We can’t win the old ball game unless we have teamwork. And that’s where every John Doe comes in. It’s up to him to get together with his teammate. And your teammate, my friends, is the guy next door to ya. Your neighbor — he’s a terribly important guy, that guy next door. You’re gonna need him and he’s gonna need you, so look him up. If he’s sick, call on him. If he’s hungry, feed him. If he’s out of a job, find him one. To most of you, your neighbor is a stranger, a guy with a barkin’ dog and a high fence around him. Now you can’t be a stranger to any guy that’s on your own team. So tear down the fence that separates you. Tear down the fence and you’ll tear down a lot of hates and prejudices. Tear down all the fences in the country and you’ll really have teamwork.

I know a lot of you are saying to yourselves: ‘He’s askin’ for a miracle to happen. He’s expecting people to change all of a sudden.’ Well, you’re wrong. It’s no miracle. It’s no miracle because I see it happen once every year and so do you at Christmastime. There’s something swell about the spirit of Christmas, to see what it does to people, all kinds of people. Now why can’t that spirit, that same warm Christmas spirit, last the whole year round? Gosh, if it ever did, if each and every John Doe would make that spirit last 365 days out of the year — we’d develop such a strength, we’d create such a tidal wave of good will that no human force could stand against it. Yes sir, my friends, the meek can only inherit the earth when the John Does start loving their neighbors. You’d better start right now. Don’t wait till the game is called on account of darkness. Wake up, John Doe, you’re the hope of the world.”

The except is courtesy AMC Filmsite, http://www.filmsite.org/meet.html. The movie is in the public domain, with a number of websites and other sources offering the movie for viewing. You might find it on one of those third-party streaming video channels, via Roku and the like. A good quality copy may be viewed online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flmdGgUtkCU.

It may be a movie script, but there is a lot of truth in that speech. Give it some thought. Merry Christmas.

Paul Gorski (paul@paulgorski.com) is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper.

Posted Dec. 23, 2014

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