If you have not read Follow the Yellow Brick Road - The Wizard of Oz and 1890's Monetary Policy, I would suggest you do so, so that you will fully understand the context of the article below. I want to sincerely thank you for reading The Hickory Hound.
This allegorical relationship between the movie "The Wizard of Oz" and our country's economics and culture is something that I have heard before, but never really delved into to the point of being able to fully grasp the conceptual relationship. After reading much of the information, reading the book in the past, and remembering the movie, I believe I truly understand what Baum was getting at. He is telling you that family and relationships are more important than money.
The World is more complex than it was 110 years ago, but people are still the same. Read the characterizations of the main players in the story. Dorothy still defines that innocent young wide eyed person that doesn't understand the cruelty and crassness of the environment surrounding her. Toto represents the people who are good, but many times find trouble by sticking their nose in other people's business, even though many times they do good by exposing the man behind the curtain. Read about the Tin Man and see if it doesn't remind you of the people who are lost because of deindustrialization. Look at the Scarecrow, who now equates to the small businessman being squeezed by a financial structure and taxation system instituted by the government, through funding and support of moral hazards associated with the bad behavior of corporations deemed "Too Big to Fail" and a sense of entitlement and least common denominator expectations associated with a burgeoning underclass created by the imploding structure of the macro-economy.
The Lion represents the modern day leaders of the cultural and political world who complain, but are unwilling to take any real, aggressive action that might put their reputation at risk. The witches are the people in politics and economics at the top of the food chain, who are willing to do anything, and I mean anything, to support their personal interests and goals.
The Presidents still represent witches who are persuaded and controlled by the Wizards who personify the money interests of Wall Street, whether that be the revolving door that Goldman Sachs utilizes to control the regulation of the bureaucracy through conflicts of interest or the insider trading that JP Morgan-Chase utilizes in association with Goldman Sachs in rigging the markets through insider trading sanctioned by The President's Working Group on Financial Markets (the Plunge Protection Team).
Look at what happened two years ago when the banks began imploding, because of the moral hazard associated with their bad lending habits and the derivative investments associated with those loans. Many of the supposed leaders of our country, including President Bush, blindly came to their defense and agreed in conjunction with the Federal Reserve and the Treasury to take the money supply to astronomical levels under the guise that they were helping the American people. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money was supposed to help individual homeowners who had become underwater on their mortgages and help shore up a Housing system that was imploding due to the Economic bubble associated with the cheap money policies facilitated by the Federal Reserve. Two days after the bill was passed Bush's Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson redirected the scheme to give billions of dollars directly to the "Too Big to Fail" Banks.
We look at the campaign of 2008 and how Barack Obama and John McCain essentially ran in the same direction with Progressive platforms. Both of the men supported the TARP and other Banking bailout policies. Obama won because he sold the Average "Dorothy" type Citizens on an idea that he was the candidate who represented Change. In his term to date, he has not represented change. He is carrying out a furtherance of the policies of the George W. Bush administration. He has thrown his lot directly behind the Fat Cats on Wall Street at the expense of the Small Businessman (Scarecrow) and the Average Laborer (Tin Man).
The reason why the Tea Party began forming is because of the disillusionment of an American public that feels that the Legitimate American System has been stolen from us. Think back to August 2009 and those Town hall meetings that took place. Those Town Halls were not organized to function the way that they did. "Toto" showed up to expose the men behind the curtain. People were angry that their health care preferences weren't being represented. It is agreed that something needs to be done, but what has been done does not implement a system of healthcare liberation and choices, instead it institutes a system of top-down bureaucratic control.
I believe that many of the Dorothys are going to be awakened by what the Totos have led them into. People buy into the notion of Conservative-Liberal, Democrat-Republican, Left-Right... These paradigms are meant to divide and conquer. Look at what the parties have done. Do their actions match their rhetoric? Just like in 1890, when both the Democrat and succeeding Republican Presidents made sure to enforce a strict monetary policy tied to Gold, today we have seen a Republican President and his Democrat successor both support a monetary policy based upon Fiat currency, expansion of Federal Reserve Powers, protecting a world banking cartel, Laissez-Faire world trade policies, and I can go on and on with the similarities.
What the story of The Wizard of Oz teaches us is that "There's no place like home." Home is where we find comfort through family and the people that we love. That cannot be derived through the unquenchable, covetous desires programmed upon us through the ideas of the modern materialistic, bastardized "American Dream."
Look at what has happened over the generations to the American Family. It used to be that the family could live comfortably off of one income, usually derived from the father, while the mother stayed home taking care of the household and raising the children. That was a real job, that should have truly been appreciated. Over time, the mother was economically forced to go to work to help support family income needed to pay for rising costs. The system endorsed this transformation in the family structure as Women's Liberation. Has it really liberated anyone?
As time has gone on in this new family structure paradigm, and with the conception and implementation of Social Welfare, we have seen the cohesion of the Institution of the American Family decimated. Under this new structure, it is much more easy for the husband and wife to lose their commonality and grow apart, because their career becomes their identity and more important than their family. Many times this leads to divorce.
Much of the economic devastation we have seen correlates with the coming into middle age of the initial Latchkey Kids and the products of the Age of Divorce. As the Latchkey pioneer generation comes to the age of taking leadership roles, most are lost and ill-prepared because they do not have a principled foundation to fall back on. They are not prepared for leadership, because they have basically had to mentally raise themselves in a chaotic trial and error experience caused by this transformation in Family Values. What has been instituted is a mentality of isolation, survival, and taking care of ones self.
There is no place like home and the security and love that comes with it. I believe that is what we are missing today. Money cannot fulfill that need and as a society we have to get back to Family and Togetherness being the norm and not the exception. Ones relationship with the government should not take precedent over ones relationship with their family. I really don't know if we are too far down this road to get back to the soundness built upon a solid foundation of principles, but in my heart of hearts I know that it is what is right.
I refuse to espouse the ideas of the typically trite politician, who drones on about their belief that America's best days lie ahead. We cannot take that for granted! What we have seen is part of the evolution of our country; but just like that unbridled teen who is out of control, we have to begin to find our way through the personal practice of the principles of honesty, integrity, honor, and loyalty; and we need to get back to being productive. What we have gone through is not a lost cause if we learn from the errors of our ways; but if we don't, then we could surely witness the demise of this great nation in our lifetime. And like Dorothy, the power to solve our problems is within our own hands and it has been the whole time.