HETRICK: Offing the wizard in the wonderful Land of Oz

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Bruce Hetrick

One morning, over the rainbow in the Land of Oz, Professor Mitch Marvel stood behind a curtain in his laboratory, tinkering with the controls of state.

As he worked, he sang his favorite tune:

Jobs, jobs here; schools, schools there,

And lose the township perks,

That’s how we pass the day away,

And build an Oz that works!

All of a sudden, there was a loud banging on the outer door of the Emerald City. Professor Marvel’s trusty aide Harley rushed down the long, cavernous corridor to answer.

On the doorstep stood three of Professor Marvel’s Emerald Party colleagues—one homeless, one heartless, one cowardly.

Proclaiming urgent need, they begged for immediate guidance from the great and powerful professor.

Harley ushered them in and directed them down the long hall. As they marched away, he heard them chanting:

Foreigners and unions and gays, oh my!

Foreigners and unions and gays, oh my!

Foreigners and unions and gays, oh my!

Foreigners and unions and gays, oh my!

“Hey, y’all,” said the professor, startling his preoccupied partisans. “Welcome to Oz headquarters. What can I do for you?”

“We’re, um, worried,” said homeless Dorothy.

“About what?” said Professor Marvel. “Life is good! Unlike other states, our budget is balanced. We froze property taxes. Heck, we still have a rainy-day fund while other guys just have rain!

“What’s more, we’re doin’ better than our neighbors in the Lands of Ill, Oh, Mi, Wi and Kent. We have a real shot at school and local-government reform. And hey, we’re bein’ mentioned nationwide as a model for how to do things right. I was even on ‘The Diane Rehm Show!’”

“Well, um, that’s true,” said Dorothy, “But there are foreigners out there: wicked witches and squeaky Munchkins and flying monkeys. We need to see their papers and kick them out.”

“Yeah,” said the heartless Tin Man. “And I know in this hollow chest of mine that collective bargaining is the root of all evil. We need to axe those unions once and for all.” (He swung his axe for emphasis, barely missing the professor’s foot.)

“N-n-n-not only that,” stammered the Cowardly Lion. “We’re sc-sc-scared some o’ them Munchkins might be gay and them witches lesbians. And if they p-p-pair up, they might recruit our c-c-cubs.”

“Look,” said Professor Marvel. “With all due respect, we need to skip that stuff for now. Call it a time-out—like in all-day kindergarten.

“These issues you’re scaring up are divisive. They pit people against one another instead of uniting ’em toward a common cause. We need to be chasing the Emerald ring—not one another. If you dredge this stuff up, you’re just gonna get us sidetracked from the real work that needs to be done—jobs, schools and local-government reform.”

“B-b-but,” said the Cowardly Lion.

“But the Tea Party!” said Dorothy.

“But the bloated budget!” said the Tin Man.

“B-but the gays,” said the Cowardly Lion.

“But illegal immigrants,” said Dorothy.

“But the unions,” said the Tin Man.

“But nothing,” said Professor Marvel. “Look, we’ve been in charge here for five years. Our budget is balanced. We’ve cut the fat others only promise to cut. Gay marriage is already outlawed. Illegal immigration is not the problem it is in Arizona; nor do we need a ‘book ’em, Danno’ solution. Most important, even in the midst of a terrible recession, we’ve kept job losses reasonable and added lots of new ones. We are the change others only talk about.”

“But … ” said Dorothy

“No buts!” said the professor. “Now, let me be clear about one other thing. Folks are sayin’ I oughta become the Great and Powerful Oz.

“I don’t know nothin’ ’bout that higher-office stuff. But I do know that we have problems enough with the Yellow Brick Road Party. Heck, y’all watched as they followed that maize-bellied path all the way to Urbana and shut you down.

“But even if Wolf Blitzer thinks I have a prayer at higher office, here’s what I don’t need: I don’t need y’all paintin’ me into corners and pinnin’ my sore shoulder to the mat with no-win decisions on foreigners, unions, gays and whatnot. You and I just don’t need that right now.

“We need a state of prosperity, not a state of intolerance. So please, just leave the divisive stuff alone.”

With that, the would-be Wizard of Oz returned to his work.

Their marching orders clear, the Emerald Party leaders headed back down the hallway, their pace quickening, their voices rising, as they chanted:

Foreigners and unions and gays, oh my!

Foreigners and unions and gays, oh my!

Foreigners and unions and gays, oh my!

“Alas,” Harley sighed, “they pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”•


Hetrick is chairman and CEO of Hetrick Communications Inc., an Indianapolis-based public relations and marketing communications firm. His column appears twice a month. He can be reached at bhetrick@ibj.com.


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  1. A couple of issues need some clarification especially since my name was on the list. I am not sure how this information was obtained and from where. For me, the amount was incorrect to begin with and the money does not come to me personally. I am guessing that the names listed are the Principal Investigators (individual responsible for the conduct of the trail) for the different pharmaceutical trials and not the entity which receives the checks. In my case, I participate in Phase II and Phase III trials which are required for new drug development. Your article should differentiate the amount of money received for consulting, for speaking fees, and for conduct of a clinical trial for new drug development. The lumping of all of these categories may give the reader a false impression of physicians just trying to get rich. The Sunshine Law may help to differentiate these categories in the future. The public should be aware that the Clinical Trial Industry could be a real economic driver for Indiana since these revenues supports jobs and new job creation. Nationally, this account for 10-20 billion which our State is missing out on to a large degree. Yes, new drug and technology development has gotten most of the attention (e.g. CTSI, BioCrossroads, etc.) However, serious money is being left on the table by not participating in the clinical trials to get those new drugs and medical devices on the market!!!! I guess that this is not sexy enough for academia.

  2. The address given for the Goldfish Swim Club is the Ace Hardware, is it closing?

  3. Out of state management and ownership. If Kite controlled it, everything would be leased. Of course, due to the roundabout, there is limited access to the south side of 116th now also. Just have to go down to the light.

  4. Hey smudge, You're opposed to arresting people for minor crimes? Sounds great! We should only focus on murders and such, right? Let's stand around and wait until someone shoots someone before we act. Whatever we do, we should never question anyone, frisk anyone, or arrest anyone unless they are actively engaged in shooting or stabbing. Very sound!

  5. You guys are being really rude to gays in the comments. (Not all of you, I presume). You need to stop it. Gays have just as much of a right to marry as straight people do. It's not fair how you guys are denying them equal rights. They're acting more human than you'll ever be. We obviously haven't matured since the bible was last updated. Hate the sin, not the sinner. You've all committed a sin at least once in your life. You've lied, you've stolen, etc. (Those are just possibilities). We should have a planet for people that support gay rights and a planet for people that don't. Then, gay people could get married without you bigots interfering with their love life. How would you feel if straights couldn't get married? How would you feel if teenagers were afraid to come out to their parents as straight? If straight people got hate everywhere they went? If straight people were afraid to go out in public, because they feared being judged? It's never going to happen at the rate society is going. You haven't seen the side of me where I act obscene. You're glad my inner demon hasn't been released. I would, but oh no, my comment would be removed because of my very strong emotions about this subject. I love gays, and love how they show their affection for each other. I just ADORE how a state is going to give same-sex couples a marriage license, then changes their mind. (I was obviously being sarcastic there). I just LOVE how society thinks gays are an abomination to our society. You're caring about marriage between two men or two women. That's a small thing. Just grow up, and let them marry. Let them live their lives. You can't make them change their sexuality. You can't make them change their lifestyle. In my opinion, gays are more than welcome to marry. Please, grow up and realize that people should be allowed to marry, even if it's same-sex marriage. You guys are saying that "the bible said gay marriage is wrong." Well, guess what else is wrong? Read Matthew:7 and you'll find out. (I am in no way breaking that. I am saying a fact). I'm stating that gays have just as much of a right to marry as straights do. (: