I’m really a very good man; but I’m a very bad Wizard.
— L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
He couldn’t have known. He wrote it years before Donald Trump was born. But in writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum was prescient. He wrote a story that foretold the rise and fall of Donald Trump. Of course, some will think it too soon to be certain of his fall, but that does not for a moment take away from the pleasure of that prospect nor does it make the tale less relevant.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz tells the story of Dorothy, a young girl who, together with her dog, Toto, lives in Kansas. When a tornado strikes her house, she and Toto are transported to to the land of Oz over which the Wizard rules. The story describes her travels through that country with Toto, and the friends she makes while wandering through the country side. In writing the book, Mr. Baum focused on three main characters who each had one of the characteristics that are found in the supporters of Donald Trump. (There are a number of other characters, such as the witches who represent the “Trumpettes,” the beautiful women who are seen standing behind Mr. Trump at his rallies with blank stares. Time and space prevent me from explaining their significance. We focus exclusively on the three main characters and, of course, the Wizard himself. It is impossible to know whether my interpretation is exactly what Mr. Baum intended but never mind-it is what he wrote.
Since Dorothy had not signed up for a trip to the land of Oz, one of the first things she did when she met someone who took pity on her plight, was to inquire how she could get back to Kansas. (This was long before Sam Brownback was that state’s Governor and her request was, therefore, completely understandable.) She was told that in order to return to Kansas she would have to go to the Emerald City over which the Wizard ruled and he could help her. The first character she encounters as she heads towards the Emerald City is the Tin Woodman.
The Tin Woodman has been unable to move because all his joints have rusted but, as luck would have it, he had an oil can and Dorothy was able to lubricate his joints. As soon as his jaw is freed, he tells her that he lacks a heart and would like to go with her to see the Wizard so that the Wizard can give him a heart. The Tin Woodman represents the Trump supporters who, having no hearts, support Mr. Trump even when he says that health care professionals who became infected treating ebola patients abroad, should not be permitted back into this country for treatment. As he explained, “People that go to far away places to help out are great-but must suffer the consequences.”
As the three companions continue, they encounter a scarecrow that Dorothy frees from the stake to which he was tied. The Scarecrow tells Dorothy that he doesn’t have a brain and would like to have one. He joins her entourage, hoping that the Wizard will be able to give him a brain. The Scarecrow represents the Trump supporters who, lacking brains, do not withdraw their support when Mr. Trump says one thing one day and the opposite thing the next day.
As Dorothy and her companions continue walking, they encounter the Cowardly Lion who tries to bite Toto. Dorothy slaps the Cowardly Lion and admonishes him. The Cowardly Lion admits that he is a coward and asks to join the entourage so that he can ask the Wizard to give him courage. The Cowardly Lion represents Trump supporters who, like their idol, are afraid of Muslims and Mexicans.
When the travelers get to the gates of the Emerald City they are told that before entering they must wear green goggles because the light in the city is so blinding. The real reason is to make the Emerald City appear to be green because, of course, the Emerald City is not, in fact, green. In that it represents the kinds of promises Mr. Trump makes that look wonderful when seen through his eyes and described by him, but are divorced from reality.
The Wizard tells the supplicants he will grant their wishes if they perform one task for him. They complete the assigned task and return to the Wizard’s chambers. Upon entering, Toto knocks over the screen behind which the Wizard is sitting and the visitors see not an imposing wizard but a small, wizened man who describes himself as a humbug from Omaha who got to Oz quite by accident when a hot air balloon in which he was riding got off course. The knocked over screen represents the Trump tax returns behind which Mr. Trump hides his financial affairs which may well be quite different from what he has led everyone to believe.
Before leaving Oz to return to Omaha, the Wizard gave each of the supplicants what they wanted. The scarecrow received a new head and for brains it was filled with bran, pins, and needles. The Tin Woodman received a silk heart stuffed with saw dust and the Cowardly Lion was given a drink that the Wizard said was a potion of courage. Those are the sorts of rewards the entire United States will receive should Donald Trump and his head of hair become president. Or perhaps the voters will conclude that Donald Trump, like the Wizard, is in fact a humbug.