It seems every day brings so much more news about government intrusion that it’s hard to keep up. The President’s statements telling us that it’s no big deal, that Congress has the matter well in hand, that’s there’s nothing up the government’s sleeve, only adds to the cacophony of information. As I watched Obama stand behind the podium yesterday and pontificate, I was suddenly filled with an overwhelming sense of déjà-vu, but it wasn’t until later while draining my bowels of all the sludge my eyes and ears had ingested that it came to me: I had seen this before!
The Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Dorothy and Toto are standing before the terrible and awesome visage of the legendary wizard Oz, trembling before his greatness. They had liquidated the wicked witch and returned her broom as Oz had directed, and now expected the wizard to fulfill his promise. Oz tells them he has to think about the matter awhile longer, and when the fearful group dare to confront him, Oz shouts “DO NOT AROUSE THE WRATH OF THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ!” Dorothy, as afraid as she is, shouts back “If you are really great and powerful you’d keep your promises!” Meanwhile, Toto runs over to a large curtain off to the side and begins tugging on it as the wizard bellows “DO YOU PRESUME TO CRITICIZE THE GREAT OZ, YOU UNGRATEFUL CREATURES?! THINK YOURSELVES LUCKY THAT I’M GIVING YOU AUDIENCE TOMORROW INSTEAD OF TWENTY YEARS FROM NOW!” The quivering troupe sees what Toto has uncovered: a rather ordinary middle-aged man frantically manipulating levers, wheels and bellows with his back to them. When he realizes he’s been exposed, the man speaks into a huge microphone, and the terrible voice of Oz bellows ‘THE GREAT O HAS SPOKEN!” while twirling the controls in front of him. He quickly covers his station back up with the curtain, and the wizard screams ‘PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN! THE GREAT OZ HAS SPOKEN!” By now Dorothy has walked over to the man, pulled the curtain back and confronts the obviously anxious but well-dressed man and asks “Who are you?” He stammers and begins to shout into the microphone again “I AM THE GREAT AND POWERFUL…” but finishes his sentence in a meek and lowly voice “Oz…” Of course, you know how the rest of the story goes.
Dear reader, the metaphors are so obvious that if pit bulls were to eat the rest of this article you would know them easily enough. The flashing lights, rolling thunder and oversized head standing alone in front of the group is the Office of the President of the United States. The Tin Man (the one without the brain) is MSNBC, the Scarecrow (who has no heart) is CNN and the Cowardly Lion (lacking courage, of course) is Fox News. You and I – citizens of this wonderful land – is Dorothy, and Toto is me and those like me who, seemingly insignificant, is able to pull the curtain back and expose the tired and frightened man hiding behind, played by no less than Barak Obama. Look, folks, I could write a PhD Thesis on the parallels between the current state of affairs and The Wizard of Oz, but I’ll let your imagination carry you through those hoops. So, the next time you see our Chief Executive waving his hands over the podium in a sweeping and dismissive gesture while telling us not to pay attention to the machinations going on behind the curtain, don’t be intimidated. Get bigger dogs.