Donald Trump and the shutdown reveal him as The Wizard of Oz -- all smoke and bluster and not much else

In “The Wizard of Oz,” Emerald City is ruled by a dictator who uses fear and the illusion of power to get his way. Then Dorothy stands up to the Wizard and reveals him to be a little man on a stool using a megaphone to make his voice, and himself, appear more powerful then he really is.

Last week Nancy Pelosi stood up to Donald Trump.  And just like Dorothy, Pelosi exposed Trump for who he really is…the Wizard of Oz. After two years of using threats and Twitter to demean and demonize the country, Trump’s power melted away faster than the Wicked Witch of the West when he conceded and re-opened the government he shut without funding for the wall. Pelosi dug in the heels of her proverbial ruby red shoes and refused to capitulate to Trump and his threats. She refused Trump the opportunity to present the State of the Union while the government was shut. She refused to provide Trump any funding for the wall while the government was shut.

Trump lost.

Pelosi won.

The American people and our democracy won as well. No longer would the country be held hostage to the whims of Trump.

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In stark contrast to Pelosi, former Speaker Paul Ryan and current Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to stand up to Trump, making them not only look weak but also accomplices to Trump’s reckless rampages. And Republican members of Congress now realize they are the ones who will pay the price in 2020.

They watched Trump and their poll numbers plummet during the government shutdown as the American people overwhelmingly blamed them. The Fox News poll last week revealed that 61 percent of registered voters are dissatisfied with the direction of the country. Furthermore, 54 percent disapprove of Trump’s job performance and 51 percent are extremely or very frustrated and upset with Republicans in Congress. As the weeks wore on, more Republican started voting against Trump and that pattern will continue in the weeks to come. Nancy Pelosi showed them that Donald Trump can be defeated by simply standing up to him – something none of them had done for the past two years.

The more Congress and Americans stand up to Trump the more America will look like home again.

The power Pelosi wielded, with her steel will and savvy, was on behalf of the American people. She stood up for the majority of Americans who oppose the shutdown and the wall. She stood up for the hard-working Americans who were forgoing paychecks and standing in line for food. She stood up for Americans like Chef Jose Andres and restaurants owners across the country who provided meals to furloughed workers. We saw Americans come together. We saw food banks open like pop-ups shops. We saw GoFundMe pages that paid rent and more for those unable to do so because of Trump.

In a country where the majority of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, we saw the out-of-touch millionaires and billionaires of the Trump administration appear incapable of understanding what most workers faced. For many of them, government jobs are a way to enter the middle class. A reliable paycheck that helps a family put a roof over their head and food on the table vanished as they stared into the financial abyss even though they did nothing wrong. The shutdown ended when air traffic controllers at LaGuardia airport, who worked for over a month without pay and were short-staffed and stressed trying to keep planes in the air and passengers safe, finally said “no more.” They put a ground hold on one of the busiest airports in the country when they could no longer guarantee its safety. Four hours later the government re-opened.

In a karmic coda to Trump and the shutdown, FBI agents, who also worked for over a month without pay, arrested longtime Trump associate Roger Stone, who was indicted on seven counts in a federal court filled with people affected by shutdown as well. Stone’s arrest, his long history with Trump, and their parallel efforts during the 2016 campaign is an important part of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in that election. It can also be seen as a metaphor for this chapter in our country’s history: No matter what harm people may try to cause, from afar or within, the people of this country will always rise up to insure that good prevails over evil.

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At the end of the movie, after Dorothy reveals the Wizard of Oz is a fraud, he waves goodbye to her as she returns home without any help from him. Dorothy used her own power to stand up to the Wizard of Oz, to help those around her, and to control her destiny. And when she is reunited with her loved ones Dorothy proclaims “There’s no place like home.”

The more Congress and Americans stand up to Trump the more America will look like home again.

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