A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Season In Oz

Well, actually, not quite a season, more like a vacation. The Land of Oz is really rather like here, except for that Yellow Brick Road. It still has people in it like George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, Harry Reid, Tony Blair, Saddam Hussein, Jacques Chirac, Osama Bin Laden, Kofi Annan, and Arial Sharon. It's a little more narratively coherent than our world, a little easier to tell the Good from the Bad [though not from the Ugly], and the Munchkins have better vocal coaching and choreography.

There are two sets of characters traveling down the yellow brick road. For one of them, the Wicked Witch of the West is Condoleeza Rice. It's not very much fun hanging around with these people. Even their projective fantasies are dull. That's why they call themselves the "reality based community". When you go to a blog with a comment page full of these characters, it's like a Monday morning staff meeting. Borrrrrring!

I read these blogs for relevant news and quotations, but almost never for fun.

The second set of characters are far more entertaining. Instead of fancying themselves as the Wizard of Oz, chairing a committee meeting in the Emerald City, they are eager and willing to take up the personae of Dorothy (ruby slippers and all), Toto, Gilda The Good Witch of the North, The Tin Man, The Scarecrow, or The Cowardly Lion.

For all these fine folks Hillary Clinton is the Wicked Witch of the West. They are much more fun and I enjoy hanging out on their blog comment pages because they have such luridly colorful and comical delusions.

These friends of mine mostly see vast, overarching, conspiracies among major market newspapers, electronic networks, and magazines to rig all the news against their brand of politics. For newspeople are, of course, omniscient about good and evil, and biased to the side of evil, when they are not actively evil themselves.

You've got to give media people credit, though. They are the Winkies, with towering helmets, long coats, and big spears. As they march around the Witches Castle, they raise the chilling cry of "O--Ee--Yah! Eoh--Ah!"

The Winkies are very good at their evil trade. So good, in fact, that writing copy, editing videotape on the fly, meeting deadlines, and trying to shoehorn all the news into the newshole or the air time, requires so little effort that the bulk of their time can be devoted to collective conspiracy to knock the innocent wayfarers off of the yellow brick road.

Moreover the travelers on the yellow brick road think in terms of the Clash Of Civilizations, and see everywhere the evil winged monkeys, the hateful Islamofascists, who are the thralls of the Wicked Witch of the East, whom our cabin killed when it landed, and whose Ruby Slippers we confiscated.

Then some of the innocent travelers in Oz are cowering in the Catacombs, waiting in fear for the Liberal Legionaires of the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Stonewall Union, the Muslim American Society, and the National Press Club.

These stonehearted troopers will seize such good Christians and bring them before Emperor Bill Clinton [Diocletian has the week off.], and crucify them in the Coliseum, head downwards. Not to mention confiscating all their Christmas Trees and calling them Kwannza Bushes, or maybe Happy Holiday Conifers.

When above ground, you can spot these courageous Christian souls, stoically enduring their persecution, by the secret sign of the Fish on their auto bumpers and the secret sign of "W" on their auto rear windows.

For W means the great Wizard Of Oz Himself:


So what is the story of the Wizard of Oz?

From the first time his name is mentioned we know that the Wizard of Oz is a great and powerful wizard whose existence is shrouded in mystery. All the Munchkins bow deeply at the mention of his name when Glinda suggests that Dorothy will have to travel to the Emerald City to meet the Wizard of Oz in order to get back home.

When Dorothy and her friends finally get in to see the great and powerful Wizard of Oz, it is only to their dismay that they have to bring him the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West before he will grant them their wishes. After returning from that task, Toto unveils him to be nothing more than a flustered little man.

Despite this great disappointment, the Wizard of Oz still gives each of Dorothy's companions the virtues which they desire. He even agrees to take Dorothy back home to Kansas in his hot air balloon. But, when it gets launched without Dorothy in the basket, Dorothy screams for him to come back, and the Wizard of Oz shouts, "I can't come back! I don't know how it works!"

As I say, I vacation in Oz, and I enjoy my time among the [relatively] friendly natives. The only problem is that I have to return home, where the delusions need medication, survival requires a constant guerilla war with social service agencies, and you have to deal, up close and personal, with the decades long deterioration of American life, American dreams, and American hopes.

For this really is Kansas, not Oz, there is no yellow brick road, and nobody is the Wicked Witch of the East or the West. We are all merely fallible human beings, not demons in the form of winged monkeys. Even the worst of us. We are not aggregated into vast, overarching, implacable conspiracies to do this, that, or the other--even when, occasionally, we really do connive something or are collusively corrupt.

Here in Kansas, even your enemies can never quite match the lurid expectations you have of them, can never be found in quite the green make-up or with quite the supernormal powers of a winged Islamofascist or the Wicked Witch of the West. They can be dangerous enough, of course, as ordinary misguided human beings, and circumstances may easily force you to kill them in self-defense, or forestall them in many other unpleasant ways.

Our enemies are human, have families, have hopes, have fantasies, and, maybe, have faith, though maybe not the faith we have or not precisely the way we have it. Even when both they and we do have faith, we still all stand puzzled by the mystery of death.

So if they force us to kill or be killed [which they can easily do] we should kill with regret and not with hatred. For when we kill them, the blood on our hands will be our own blood, and not a drop of it will harbor any irredeemable evil, save what we bring to it with our own choices.

In Oz, you have no choices. You are merely who you are, and so are no longer human, but playing cards marked with Good or Evil, as you might be marked with Spades or Hearts.

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