Originally published at http://tinyurl.com/2fvredf on 11/03./11
So I want you to think back to 1939's Wizard of Oz. When we first meet our heroine, Dorothy Gale, she's living with her uncle and aunt on their farm. Something not often talked about is that this is during the dustbowl. They are poor people. Obviously they're somewhat better off than a lot during this period because they have farmhands but they certainly aren't rich. I'd suspect they are a lot like the original versions of the Kents over in Smallville. Dorothy is bored. Bored almost to tears. Let's face it, the girl's best entertainment is walking along a fence! Her only solace is her little dog, Toto and singing about some place far away where she can rise up out of her poverty. Most likely she's thinking New York but turns out to fit Oz as well. And as we meet the Gales and the people who work for them we also meet Elmira Gulch. Elmira's this nasty mean old woman who's sex life can probably also be thought of as a dustbowl. And what does she appear to want out of life? To take Dorothy's dog away. Reminds me of Eric Cantor. Anyhow...
So Dorothy's life could be much better right? She sings her song and then to top it all off a tornado made of pantyhose (it's true, that's what the FX people used) comes along and whisks her off to Oz! Hooray! She's escaped from Kansas and what's more her house lands on Elmira Gulch (or possibly her sister..?)! How awesome right? This is so awesome that native people of this new colorful place sing a morbidly happy song about the Witch's death! Awesome! Take that bipartisanship!
But wait...there's a problem. This is all great but already the Kansas farmgirl wants to go home. Frankly this is gonna be hard. How to do it? Even Glenda, the Good Witch of the North can't get her back. Damn. Stuck in a place where they give out lollipops as celebration for killing people. Wait! Glenda has an idea! Yes, yes the Wizard can do it!Maybe. And so, armed (or rather footed) with her ruby slippers she's told to get on the Yellow Brick Road and start walking. Lucky for Dorothy(and her little dog too!) the YBR just happens to start...actually, literally start...right in the center of Munchkinland! Wow, that's a lucky break! So, she starts walking!
Now, let's start diverging back to our reality, sort of. See, if life is a web, government is a road. A long,sometimes torturous road. And in this case, it's yellow and made of bricks. And we liberals? We're the young Kansas girl. Except we're not gonna end up back in the farm house in Dorothy's bed. And by the way, why do you want to end up in a 12 yr. old girl's bed? Perv.
So I want to fast forward a bit in what is becoming our twisted version of a film classic. We've been joined in our trip to liberal Oz by the Tin Man,Lion and Scarecrow. See, we're on the YBR headed in the right direction but time wise we're about 2/3 of the way thru the movie.Now we approach the Haunted Forest. Look quick and you can see the hanging guy (no you can't that's a myth). Dark, scary...the Wicked Witch named oh..."Sarah" knows our plans. She's sent her flying monkeys (weird how a monkey can look like a turtle) to attack us and they are circling above. The only way to Oz is thru the forest but...
Well, now we've got 4 choices. We can lay down and take a long nap for one. I mean, if we are asleep here at the edge of the woods the trees can't get us and maybe, just maybe the flying monkeys will think we're dead and move on. But no, that's not a great solution because it still doesn't get us any closer to the Great and powerful Oz.
We can fight the monkeys here before we proceed.That would eliminate one threat. But it also will deplete our forces we may need for the forest. We could just run hell's bells thru the woods and hope none of us get hit, but nope, because by then we'll be too tired to take on the monkeys and it'll make us more vulnerable on the road further. And who knows what the heck is yet to come? Hmm...guess it's option #4.
What's option #4? It's the option that comes between 3 and 5 but that's not important right now. What is important is what we are about to do. What we must do. We have to walk, not run, deliberately thru the forest. We'll hold hands or interlock arms so we don't get separated. And we'll move with purpose. The trees and whatever else is in the Haunted Forest might come to attack us but we can work thru that. We can fight them off. And what do you know? A good stern look will probably convince most things that might harm us that it's just not worth the fight.
So first, we look back just to make sure we didn't miss anything. Any detours around the forest. This is prudent and good because you always want to make sure you know where you're coming from. But take a moment and notice something else...you can't see Munchkinland. In fact, we've been walking so long and thinking about the future so hard we scarcely noticed it but there's a lot behind us. It's a very very long road. Look ahead and right now we can only see the Haunted Forest but we know the Emerald City is ahead. We just can't see it. We don't know how long the road is, so we may not even be able to see it on the other side of this forest which we don't know how big it is either. This is gonna take some work, right?
Last night we here in our own reality took a big hit. A huge hit. There's lots of reasons why and right now, this is where we are. The Haunted Forest ahead. The flying turtle looking monkeys are circling.Now what? We have something they may not. We have each other.
Before we lock arms and take that step we have to do something that is going to seem very counter-intuitive but I am gonna ask you to trust me and do it. We have to take that look backwards. We have to see where we went wrong. Again, wise and good.
While the Scarecrow might not have thought he had a brain, we know we do. While the lion thought he had courage, we know different. And the Tin Man might seem heartless but he's anything but.We're like him too. Notice that the the Tin Man is not accused of being cowardly even though he cowers. He doesn't need to though, he's indestructible. He's armored. We too have to acquire some armor.
Now, I don't know Tony Stark and seems to me we're not gonna get much help from the military in this regard so just possibly our armor will have to be made of something other than metal or synthetic hybrids. Maybe our armor has to shield our Scarecrow-like brains and Lion-like courage. The only armor I can think of possible of protecting those two things at the same time is knowledge. We're gonna have to take some time to learn. So, we're gonna start by doing the one thing that allows us dominion over the Earth. We're gonna learn. We're gonna read and watch and discuss. To that end, below you'll find two links to excellent articles that I've read in the last week. Let's start there. I'm also recommending you go out and buy some "For Dummies" books. I'll have that list and those links tomorrow. For now, read the articles and discuss them on twitter (follow me @Colierrannd) and among yourselves.
Remember that I've always said that the work doesn't end on Nov. 3rd. It starts now. Now we begin to take our country back to the left where it can truly move forward. Flying monkeys,Haunted Forest and Sarah Palin be damned.We're going to do this.
First up is this opednews.com post about the move that got us into this mess with the Teabaggers and the Congress we now have to face in January.
Secondly is this op/ed from the New York Times by Ari Berman, which makes a convincing case that a smaller Dem majority is a good thing. I agree with him.
Finally take note of a couple of things and take heart in them.
# 1- Sarah Palin is bad for the Republican party and they're starting to see it. Depending on the Alaska results she may have cost them a seat in the Senate and while Murkowski might caucus with the GOP there's clearly going to be bad blood. Also as an Independent now, Murkowski won't feel beholden to vote party line every time. This makes her vote vulnerable for Republicans.
# 2- While it's disgusting that not one African-American is sitting in the Senate now, the first black GOPer from the deep south is now in the House. Nikki Haley is the first Indian-American to be elected in the country and while she's GOP she's also in the south. Think about that for a second. And according to some reports more LGBT-friendly candidates were elected last night than any time in history. So while it looks like the GOP is winning, alongside that fact is that progressivism is winning too.
This all means that this was one bad day. It's one bad day in a long line of days that goes on forever. And it means that though it appears we've taken it on the chin, we've also made strides in the bigger picture. It means in reality we're winning. Now go read,discuss, learn and have a little fun. Maybe watch Wizard of Oz with the kids tonight.
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Copyright 2010 Michael J. Norton