Ding, Dong! The witch is dead!
Which old witch? The Wicked Witch!
Ding, Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead!
I admit, it was the first thing that went through my head when I heard the news this morning. It's childish (though if you've got a little one of your own, you know how easy it is for their music to get stuck in your head) but heartfelt: the failure of the Department of Justice to be anything but an enabling enforcement arm of unconstitutional and un-American activities cuts to the quick of my citizen's heart.
Then I thought about it a little more and realized that we may have begun the journey that will get us back to the heartland, back to reality, back to those we love. Yes, I'm about to compare the future of the Republic to The Wizard of Oz.
Having landed, more or less by accident (something about sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind applies to our soon-to-be-former-AG, not to mention Congressional Republicans) on the Wicked Witch of the East (I think that makes the DoJ employees Munchkins, which I hope they won't take the wrong way: they're free!), we now have on our feet a great power which the Wicked Witch of the West would willingly destroy us to get (subpoena power, independent prosecutors, real Justice) but we can't really use it all on our own. We want to get back to Kansas (restore the Constitution! abandon Imperial projects! etc.) but we can't do it on our own, so we look for leadership and wisdom in the Great and Powerful Oz (Congressional Democrats and Democratic Presidential candidates). They tell us that we have to slay the Wicked Witch of the West first, which we do in the process of trying to protect ourselves and our friends (investigating illegal wiretapping, bringing an end to the slaughter in Iraq, protecting our troops by calling administration-connected contractors to account, and generally putting an end to this administration, via impeachment or electoral victory).
We then discover, to our chagrin, that the Great and Wonderful Oz is a fraud who has no magic (we've been disappointed by our Democratic leadership before, and there's an awful lot of mealy-mouthed moderation out on that campaign trail), but that we ourselves have the power within us to restore that which is precious. The Ruby Slippers can bring us home if we truly believe that we belong at home, if we deeply understand what it is we've lost and honestly wish to return. Even with all its flaws, there's no place like home. Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.
Democracy, Constitutional Government, Responsible Leadership, Messy Internationalism: that is our farm in Kansas. It's a lot more colorful than we give it credit for; certainly a lot more real and precious than the technicolor certitudes of Oz, the false color of the Emerald City (in the book version, it's all illusion, like looking for a "true leader" among modern careerist politicos), the rule by magic and force of the Wicked Witches.
I haven't fully cast this yet. I think Dorothy is the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," though she's also the whole American population. The "Heartless" but Sentimental Tin Man, the "Brainless" but very clever Scarecrow, the "Cowardly" but frightening Lion, the "Good Witch" who keeps us from falling deathly asleep.... I'm not sure who fills those spots. We need them filled, though.