Peace on Earth is the Christmas Movie We Need This Year.

By  · Published on December 23rd, 2016

Short of the Day

Close out 2016 with hope.

Today’s short is a classic Christmas cartoon that takes a decidedly serious stance in terms of global politics, and given the kind of political climate in which we currently find ourselves, I thought it would be the perfect film to show before the holiday weekend. It’s called Peace on Earth and it’s a one-reel animated short created by MGM way back in 1939, when World War II had just broken out over in Europe.

In a post-apocalyptic world populated only by animals, two squirrels ask their grandad (voiced by an uncredited Mel Blanc) who the “men” are in the lyric “Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men” in the Christmas song “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” This launches the old rodent into a history of man, one that is rife with struggle, turmoil, hate, and war (or as we know it today, the Trump campaign platform). As grandpop describes it, mankind fought and fought and fought until there were only two soldiers left in all the world. Instead of surrendering their meaningless sides at that point, the two continue their skirmish until both are dead, thus eradicating humanity from the globe. In the solemn aftermath, some animals find a Bible in a ruined church and decide to rebuild life based on its principles.

You don’t have to celebrate Christmas to appreciate the message of Peace on Earth, it’s a timeless one that many will find more relevant today than in years past. As we settle in this weekend with friends and family to celebrate the holiday, take a minute away from opening your presents to remember that the greatest gifts we can give one another are kindness, understanding, and acceptance.

Otherwise squirrels are going to inherit the earth.

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