Slaying the Lizard of Oz
When my daughter was in preschool, she discovered The Wizard of Oz, and even though she absolutely loved the story, she just couldn’t get the title quite right. She called the classic story “The Lizard of Oz.”
Initially, my husband and I tried to correct her, but nothing worked.
My son, on other hand, never even attempted to point out that a lizard is very different from a wizard. He simply chose to make fun of his sister, and since she didn’t understand his ridicule, she wasn’t really bothered.
Trying to teach my daughter the difference seemed futile. Instead, we decided that allowing her to happily promote the concept of a giant lizard ruling over the Land of Oz made our lives more peaceful.
At least, it was more peaceful until that day she came home dismayed that her parents made her look foolish by allowing her to publicly talk about “The Lizard of Oz.”
I can’t tell this story without thinking of all the adults who also believe in the Lizard of Oz.
These are people who make up their minds about something and only listen to those who validate their beliefs: the politicians who believe that they speak for “all Americans” or the old white guys with money who only listen to other old white guys with money (or to those who pander to them). They, like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, could easily gain wisdom. All they’d have to do is listen to people who better understand the real issues.
These are the people who only make decisions based on their own paradigm. They ignore that the world is changing, which means their way of doing things should change too. Instead, they, like the Tin Man, appear heartless because of their refusal to adapt with little regard for others.
These are the people who are self-absorbed. Like the Wicked Witch of the East, they believe those seeking help are the problem, and they care more about feeding their own egos than feeding the hungry.
But no matter how hurtful or destructive these people are, they get away with their behavior because there are even more of us who enable it. We act like the Cowardly Lion, who is afraid of everything. We fear calling out those who are wrong. We fear making ourselves look bad. We fear causing too many problems. We fear repercussions. And we fear failure.
But being the Cowardly Lion is outside of my comfort zone. I’m not the type to sit back because trying to change misperceptions and outright mistakes is too difficult.
I’m off to slay the lizard, the problematic Lizard of Oz.