Groundhog Day 2013: 3 Ways the Movie Explains U.S. Politics


February 2nd hearkens the national holiday where we can all feel the same way, and give in to a little folklore in which a groundhog predicts the end of the winter season by looking or not looking at his own shadow.  Much more beloved and enjoyable than the celebration of this holiday is the film of the same name, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.  A lot has changed since the film's release in 1993, yet it's cultural relevance and popularity has inspired this commemoration: three ways that Groundhog Day the movie explains U.S. Politics.   

Every year, the state governments return to the state capitols to re-ignite the legislative fires that went out the previous year. It can seem like deja vu, as issues from year to year are stalled, canned, or left to die on committee floor, only to be rehashed by fervent supporters or determined legislators the next year.  

In Colorado, for instance, they will be revisiting the civil rights bill that would legalize gay marriage that failed to make it to vote last year.  Not to mention how many states are still passing or rehashing legislation on health care reform. Health care reform, or Obamacare, was ratified in Congress in 2010 yet the decisions and debates continue.   

Much like Bill Murray’s failed attempts with sparking a romantic interest with his female costar in Groundhog Day, a lesson can be learned from the issues that are brought to the attention of legislators in Washington, D.C.: timing is everything.  

One of the big issues right now is legislation on immigration reform to make the path to citizenship easier. Now seems to be a good time to make progress, as witnessed by the rare bipartisan partnership that brought a proposal to congress already, and President Obama’s press conference in Nevada only weeks after his second term inauguration. Nothing is for sure, but it appears that reform is more possibly now than ever before, considering the failure of republic president George W. Bush to pass similar legislation in 2007.  

One day a year, a small town in Pennsylvania becomes the center of attention for Groundhog Day. Similarly, small towns make big headlines every day and they inspire change for the whole country. Gun control issues are the latest source of mainstream media coverage as the tragic shooting in Newtown, a small town in Connecticut, spurred legislative action.  

Small towns in America are also the focus of economists who are trying to discern the level of improvement our country is making after the recession that began when President Obama first took office. Recently, a growing trend in the “eat local movement” has become an interesting barometer to tell whether small business can flourish, most notably being the small breweries and organic farms popping up around the country.