On this day in 1939, a wonderful and beautiful song entertained America, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” became an instant hit and remains an Iconic classic. America celebrated a New Musical in all its brilliant Technicolor, ‘The Wizard of Oz’… a tale of hope and a promise of renewal. This Iconic production came out the same year as “Gone With The Wind” another blockbuster of a film, and a testimony to Americana and its glorious spirit of innovation and renewal. Both were classical examples of our people’s masterful ability to captivate the world in full color and sound. Dorothy, Rhett, Scarlett and a full cast of sterling Characters flashed across the large screens of the world, painting an almost believable vision of a nation able to overcome every evil in a world of despair… not so today.
Where has the America of Scarlett, Dorothy, Rhett and Toto gone… the Yellow Brick Road and the wonders of the Emerald city, have been replaced by a Bridge to nowhere and the conflagration of Watt’s California. That adventurous spirit of a Nation, once enamored with tales of glory and wonder, crafted by a Hollywood in tune with its audience, has been replaced by a narrative of an America in decline and Freddie Kruger running rampant in the Streets of America… No more Yellow Brick Road , no Toto, Rhett, Dorothy or Scarlett on our wide screens today. The vision that was once America in its glory is now portrayed as the protagonist in a horror film.
Where has Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara gone, those two immortalized characters, who once spoke of the fighting spirit that was America and its enterprising people… a Nation that took on the wilderness and emerged a giant in a world of lesser grandeur. Hollywood and the American dream are Gone with the Wind and Toto has been abandoned in the once glorious vision of Oz. There he waits for Dorothy to return; If only there were a Yellow Brick Road?
No, America is not the same.. it no longer embraces a culture that ‘can’ or a narrative of success thru hard work. The wicked witch of the West has resurrected her sister of the East and both have laid siege to the Emerald City. Tara is abandoned and Rhett has gone to sea; while, Scarlett ponders, with wonder, how the promise of her youth could yield such misery. America has been TRANSFORMED into something Scarlett and Dorothy would not recognize. We no longer tap dance down the Yellow Brick Road, to overcome the demons of our imagination… Tara and the glory that was Oz are gone… and the Demons have returned.
However, the story has not ended and Rhett has yet begun to fight… Dorothy still wears her Ruby Slippers and with two quick clicks, of her heals, home can be found again. Let us take hold of the Wind and Rhett’s hand… Let Scarlett build again a new Tara… A better home, where our sons and daughters may yet find the ‘yellow brick road’ and the path to the Emerald City of our imaginations, that America may once again sing… Somewhere over the rainbow… And with a little wizardry, what was a dream can become reality, in all the fullness and glory Technicolor alone could never produce.
The spirit of renewal yet rests in the bosom of Dorothy and the eyes of Scarlett yet glow with the promise of a better day. Rhett’s indomitable spirit will rise from the ashes and Tara will bloom once more in the heart of America.
Col. US Army (ret.)