One of the key story points in “The Wizard of Oz” is that a magical man with all powers ruled the entire land from the Emerald City and could grant whatever he chose to give out of the goodness of his heart. Some people believe the same of the U.S. president.
The Ohio State Buckeyes are 11-0 right now, with just one game to go. Ohio State’s group of football fans is as rabid as any of the other top 15 or 20 college football programs, and they would normally be excited about a possible chance to play for the national championship. There’s just one problem. The Buckeyes are on probation this year and are ineligible to play a post-season game. That was part of the punishment they suffered because of a cheating scandal a few years back.
Now, I understand that a sane person would wonder how these two stories are going to tie together. But even though the ruling body of college football — the NCAA — has judged Ohio State guilty and handed down the sanctions, some of the school’s fans are unhappy. They don’t think it’s fair. So they actually started a petition on the White House website asking Barack Obama to intervene — and somehow declare that Ohio State must be allowed to play for the national title. Here’s what the petition said:
The Ohio State University football team is one win away from an undefeated season. However, due to imposed sanctions, they are not allowed to participate in their conference’s championship game or the following bowl season. While a punishment for past indiscretions is to be expected, a bowl season ban is too harsh for a few young men trading memorabilia for tattoos and some change. The offending players and coach who covered it up are no longer part of the program. Please exercise your executive power to pardon the NCAA’s excessive sanctions placed on The Ohio State Buckeyes to enable a rightful, satisfying culmination to the college football season for the American people.
The White House staff might be willing to get involved with small things such as secession, but they’re scared to toy with college football fans, so they want no part of this. It’s actually been deleted from the White House petition site.
I don’t know how serious the people were who posted the petition. They might have been dead serious and believed a president could unilaterally changed what they didn’t like. Or they might have just been frivolously trying to get some attention. Who knows? But if they were serious, who could blame them for thinking that a president is supposed to hold all powers to fix things?
George W. Bush famously falled himself “the decider,” and that’s what people seem to think their president is. They think he’s someone who “runs the country.” If they don’t have jobs, the president is supposed to create jobs. If gasoline prices are too high, the president is supposed to provide them with cheap gasoline. And if their favorite team doesn’t make it into certain games or playoffs, they demand that the government fix the perceived injustice.
So this Ohio State petition is emblematic of the day. People want a “great and powerful Oz” to give them everything they want.
In “The Wizard of Oz,” the characters eventually figure out that the wizard is a fraud and holds no real power. They realize that he’s just been scaring people into obeying him. I know the books about Oz were fantasy, but I wouldn’t mind if Americans figured out the same thing — that the president is just a fraud who scares people into obeying him.
It would be nice to pack up all the politicians and put them into a hot air balloon for a ride to somewhere far away.