The Wizards of Wall Street and other financially elite in America certainly believe in paving a gold brick road all the way to their bank accounts. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written in 1896 depicted the political satire of the time, as well as the gold and silver standards. It illustrates that while much has changed, much hasn't. Greed and corruption prevail today as it has since the beginning of mankind.
The fictitious land of Oz was ruled by the Wizard who was supposed to be wise and good, but was revealed as a fraud. Whereas America was founded as the land of the free, today it is being controlled by a scheming body of politicians who, like the Wizard, use half-truths, lies, and trickery to fool the people into believing they are compassionate when they are really self-serving, greedy and cruel. While many of the main characters in the original story stood for everyday Americans and the good and simple life of the times, today the creatures are far less endearing with impure motives and destructive actions.
Unlike the Tin Man who wanted a heart, the scarecrow who wanted a brain, and the lion who wanted courage, many Republicans are content being heartless, clueless and cowardly.
The symbolism of the recognizable characters portrayed in the Wizard of OZ corresponds to many in the Republican Party.
Paul Ryan (WI) personifies the heartless, robot-like Tin Man. With his cuts to school lunch programs, food stamps and women's health care services, he is truly unfeeling. And like the Tin Man, he has an interest in oil, though not to lubricate his joints, but his pocketbook. While seen as a star in the party, his rehashed budget continues to take from hardworking Americans to give to the richest 1 percent. Heartless and arrogant are opposite traits of the good Tin Man of Oz.
Mike Huckabee (AR) and Michele Bachmann (MN) tied for the part of the brainless Scarecrow, though it was tough because there were so many worthy players, whose continual ridiculous rhetoric showcases their empty minds. Huckabee's recent comment continues the narrative of the Republican war on women: "If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it."
Bachmann's views on gay marriage are disturbing, as well as brainless. "Any of you who have members of your family in the lifestyle, we have a member of our family that is [lesbian]. This is not funny. It's a very sad life. It's part of Satan, I think, to say that this is gay."
John Boehner (OH) wins the role as the Cowardly Lion. Boehner is afraid of his own caucus and losing his spot as Speaker of the House. His cowardly deeds have resulted in the most do-nothing Congress in our country's history. From the government shut down to no action on women's rights or equal pay, he continually shows his cowardliness. From trying to privatize the public school system and the post office, to trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act more than 50 times, he has proven himself to be both spineless and ineffective.
The cast of key understudies is staggering.
In the category of the heartless Tin Man, Rand Paul (KY) believes that continuing unemployment benefits would be a disservice to workers. Yet, he is doing nothing to help these unemployed workers get a job. He also reasons taxing the rich punishes everyone because high taxes and excessive regulations don't work. In reality, expecting the rich to treat workers fairly hasn't succeeded, and deregulation only led to the current financial collapse we are still digging out of, both compliments of George W. Bush (TX) and his cronies.
Just as there is no shortage of brainless actors vying for the top role, there are many Cowardly Lion performers who want to flex their weak muscles.
Ted Cruz (TX) cowardly orchestrated the government shut down, then walked away from it leaving his colleagues to suffer the consequences of his actions. Later he tried to blame it on Obama. Bob Corker (R-TN), in a bully move, misled the Chattanooga workers who were voting on whether to join the union or not. His interference will probably lead to another vote now that the truth is out. Marco Rubio (FL), who supports whatever is the current popular view of the Tea Party, showed no backbone or courage in his immigration reform fiasco.
Two Texas Scarecrow understudies are Louis Gohmert and Steve Stockman. Gohmert, discussing same-sex marriage said, "The Supreme Court had said they didn't impart... basically, they didn't see any biological evidence to support marriage being between a man and a woman. And you know, they need some basic plumbing lessons." Stockman in a pro-gun, pro-life, pro-stupid comment said, "If babies had guns they wouldn't be aborted."
Another Cowardly Lion contender is Governor Rick Perry (TX), whose "oops moment" during the 2012 presidential primary is only one of his many gaffes. His actions took health care from the poor, especially hurting women, and causing Texas taxpayers to pick up the bill while leaving millions of federal dollars on the table. Governor Bobby Jindal (LA) continues to lead Louisiana down the yellow brick road to poverty and ignorance, rather than raise them up.
Unlike Glinda, the good witch of the South, Texas and other Republican-led southern states seem to cultivate witches bent on destruction of our democratic way of life.
Besides the analogy of its characters, other symbolism from the past speaks to today as well. The cyclone which started Dorothy's adventure is depicted by the growing political division within the Republican Party and the country.
Dorothy represents Americans led astray by unsavory politicians. Like many Americans, she just wanted to return home, to the democracy she once knew as America and to the country she loved.
While The Wonderful Wizard of OZ, written by Lyman Frank Baum, symbolized late 1890s, the characters are present in our current political landscape. The Wizard stands for the cynicism in politics and for the way politicians change their face for different people and groups. While the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion were good in the original version, today callousness rules their being. Everyday Americans need to vote, not depend on Dorothy clicking her silver slippers*in order to take America back to the democratic country it once was ... where citizens' voices mattered, politicians listened to and acted in the best interest of their constituents, and the country thrived.
*In the original version, Dorothy's slippers were silver referencing the silver standard.