The Great Oz Has Spoken: Who Can You Trust?

October 14, 2012

By Edward Ingold and Nancy Thorner –   First published at Illinois Review

Vice President Biden’s golden moment came when he interrupted Congressman Ryan’s explanation of the Republicans solution to Medicare, facing the camera with his most sincere (and practiced ) gaze, and said, “Use your common sense, folks.” ” Who do you trust to keep the promise of Medicare and Social Security for the American people?” This was supposed to cap the debate on a most pressing issue, through the demagoguery of a seasoned politician.

How is that promise to be kept? Where are the details, Mr. Vice President? The substance of Ryan’s response to the moderator’s question was a reasoned, thorough solution, and point-by-point rebuttal to the Democratic counter charges. Ryan was not, could not, be allowed to finish.

Think of the problems that might cause for the administration if the truth were told? Both parties agree, in principle, that something needs to be done, but when the Republicans offer a solution, the Democrats denounce their efforts. It’s safer to kick the can down the road. Let someone else face the crisis, we have an election to win. The Democrats have no record of success since 2008, and must ridicule their opponents for promising to change things around.The irony is how the strategy of delay and denial seems to work. Faced with collapse of their economy, people in Greece rioted in the streets rather than face reality and lose some of the benefits they had been promised. The Greek government wavered in its resolve to take the necessary austerity measures, and politicians who deny the crisis are winning the elections.

The leader of the only country capable of delivering a rescue, Angela Merkel of Germany, was reviled by the mobs on her recent visit to Greece.

In France, the newly elected President Hollande promises to keep benefits as they are, and to pay for it by taxing the rich at 90% of their income. Where have we heard that before? The very rich are free to move away, and that’s what they’re doing in France. In England, students rioted when faced with increased tuition, assaulting the police, burning cars and businesses. In Oakland, California, students did the same thing this Spring, for the same reasons.

America is on the road to becoming Greece, and it’s not going to be pleasant or peaceful. How will the leaders who promise much and deliver little react? They will retreat to their bunkers and blame others for their mistakes. In 1932, General MacArthur drove the “Bonus Army,” WW1 veterans demanding promised benefits, from the Capitol lawn at bayonet point, burning their temporary shelters.

The significance of similar protests in 1893, and similar response by the government to Coxey’s Army, marching on Washington for relief, was not lost on L. Frank Baum when he penned the journey down the yellow brick road in “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. To whom do we turn for a brain, a heart, courage, or a way home? The Wizard, of course. He can do anything. The Great Oz has spoken with Joe Biden!



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