501 Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead
With apologies to L. Frank Baum.
Baum gave us "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" in 1900. It was neither his first nor his last book, but it's the one we remember, often because of the film, which many early critics panned and which endures to delight and confound countless millions.
Why? Because much like "Alice," "Wizard" is filled with parallels, allegories and lessons. And if we'd learned them, we might not be in the bad spot we're in as a country today. Failing to learn at least gives us some useful descriptions.
The man behind the curtain? Dick Cheney. An impotent, incompetent snake oil salesman who promises us our missing brain, heart or courage. In the Oz book, Cheney will only grant our wishes if we kill the wicked witch of the west. Or, more accurately in today's America, the wicked witch of the southwest.
Worked for Dorothy with an iffy outcome. Worked just fine for us, even though our witch still walks and talks and breathes. That's okay. As long as we realize now what we should have realized almost a decade ago: Neither the witch nor the wizard have a shred of power except what we give them.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM WITCH AND WIZARD
What we learned, or RE-learned these last eight years is that the U.S. Presidency is designed so that even with an ill suited dolt in office, the country continues to function, at least on some level. We learned that as the White House takes a pick ax to the constitution, to the separation of powers, to the economy, to the ecology, we carry on.
We learned that we can't treat other countries as Germany treated Austria and Poland in WWII.
We learned that the Laffer Curve is a laugh.
We learned that it's perfectly okay to let a major city drown after a hurricane, as long as the city is filled mostly with minority members of the opposition party.
THE NEW WIZARD
The new wizard doesn't have all the answers, hasn't made ridiculous promises, and even has taken down the curtain, or so it seems. He's collaborating with others, rather than holding out the preemptive false promise of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. Think of it this way: the guy has a double tough job. He has to clean up eight years of damage and run the place all at the same time. He has to be the Oncologist-in-Chief, the Carpenter Foreman, re-paver of the yellow brick road, demolition director, construction manager and President of the United States all at the same time.
Can he do it? Not alone. But together, Yes We Can.
--The Great Inauguration Day Fear arose when Sen. Kennedy had to be rushed from the official luncheon at the Capitol to the hospital. The fear was the poor man was going to die minutes after the man he backed was sworn in. And it didn't happen, and we should be glad.
--The right wing whack jobs commented on air during the inaugural address. Today, we should reverse that tide. We should comment snidely as THEIR show plays today.
--Question to readers: do the subheads in this piece, "What we learned..." and "...New Wizard" make it easier to read or is it a distraction? (You have just become a focus group.)
I'm Wes Richards, My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®