[31 October 2010]
Ever since Bill Maher outted Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell as a dabbler in witchcraft, pundits and comedians nationwide have delighted in this political manna from heaven. Forget illegal employees or unpaid taxes – witchcraft? It’s like a headline from The Onion miraculously appearing on the cover of The New York Times.
O’Donnell, the Tea Party-endorsed contender in Delaware, has a growing repertoire of one-liner-worthy statements (incredulously questioning the contents of the first amendment, equating masturbation with adultery, coining clumsy words like “unfactual”) and non-statements (her recent inability to name any of the Supreme Court decisions she opposes) that make it easy for detractors to demand she be burned at the media stake while defenders insist her enemies are merely trying to distract attention from the “real” issues.
O’Donnell quickly released an ad assuring voters that she is not a witch (as if a witch would confess to being a witch), but the public hubbub raises an interesting question: Why not elect a witch?
A witch in Congress, and even in the White House, might be exactly what America needs.The carrousel of Democrat and Republican leaders over the last two decades have done little to unify the nation toward common goals or to solve problems that reach beyond their own party’s vision. The fact is, the bipartisan atmosphere in the nation’s capital make it improbable or even impossible for a mere mortal to make a difference. So how about some real change in Washington?
I confess, everything I know about witches I learned from Hollywood and Halloween (dubious sources, to be sure,) and the thought of a green-faced, wart-nosed, black-hatted woman delivering the State of the Union address might be disrupting to international politics. However, there are several witches who could be valuable assets to this fractured nation, and they are worthy of our consideration:
In The Wizard of Oz, this good witch of the North never really does anything to help Dorothy. She reassigns the ruby slippers to Dorothy’s feet and offers occasional kibitzing, but mostly leaves the young girl to figure out the riddle of Oz unassisted and learn that she had the power to change her own fate all along. In short, Glinda is not an activist witch. She is the ideal insider for helping the nation figure out that the great-and-powerful Congress is really just some folks behind a curtain fiddling with the levers of Democracy, and they need to be called out to deliver on what they promise.
This mysterious caretaker’s slogan is, “When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go.” Imagine a politician offering that sort of contract to the American people - a voluntary term-limit, a dedication to completing the job rather than merely securing the job indefinitely. Quiet and unassuming, Nanny McPhee expects her charges to figure out long-term solutions to their short-term problems (a refreshing change in government), and if the nation’s leaders can’t figure out how to create jobs while corporate profits continually to rise, a timely tap of her cane will be just the other-worldly nudging the national economy needs.
This deputy headmaster at Hogwarts would be an incredible politician. Logical, loyal, dedicated to enforcing the rules yet sympathetic to well-intentioned efforts, Minerva is conservative in the demonstration of her powers yet stands ready to wield them when circumstances require. Alas, her age and a potentially poor showing on Hot Or Not might prove to be election concerns in an era where beauty being skin-deep seems to be plenty deep enough, but a national dispersal of amortentia ought to solve that, and allow her to get to solving the nation’s healthcare woes.
This witch who chartered a network television show through eight seasons and two husbands (and not her pale big-screen successor) is certainly the best choice for a stint in the White House. Conflicted about using her magic powers, she prefers to commit to hard work when the cause is worthy of her efforts. Yet when necessary (and let’s face it, it’s always necessary), she possesses a power that easily bends the space-time continuum. Can you imagine the photo-op advantages of turning a pontificating Mahmoud Ahmadinejad into a braying donkey, or lowering fuel costs by having every big oil board inexplicably vote to make their companies non-profits – all with the mere twitch of her nose? Frankly, there isn’t a single campaign promise she couldn’t keep.
I can imagine the protests: “But we can’t allow the practice black magic in Congress. Our forefathers would roll in their graves.” Perhaps, but if their graves allow space for such postmortem gymnastics, our forefathers are surely already doing back flips over the $3 trillion debt. At least the election of a witch might be seen as a genuine effort to address the situation.
To be clear, I don’t think Christine O’Donnell is the witch America needs. She clearly isn’t cut from the same cloth as the coven listed above, and any benefits that come from her wand would likely be offset by the damage she does with her mouth. But let’s not rule out witches completely. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats seem capable of getting much done in Washington, and if America is truly interested in change, its citizens might be wise to elect someone who can actually deliver.