Where is Oz?


photo (2)This gathering in Austin, Texas is one of many pro Obamacare rallies around the country in the states where the governors and legislatures refuse to believe the healthcare needs of everyday folks are worth the state’s investment of matching federal dollars.

In its debut weekend, Oz the Great and Powerful pulled in $150 million worldwide. Con artist and magician Oscar Diggs attempts to escape a pending storm in a hot air balloon but is sucked away in a tornado that swirls him into the Emerald City, the capital of Oz. It is an ambitious effort to recreate the magic of the original Wizard of Oz for this generation but the 3-D movie takes a good stab at it.

Yet unlike the Oz of literature and film fame, most of today’s politicians are munchkins who will be best known for their small, insignificant efforts, their ribbon cuttings, their words, their smiles, and their lack of courage to take risks that might result in a challenge in their next election.

If politicians aren’t willing to champion the most basic services such as healthcare for Americans then does it matter what else they say or do? I think not.



In the film, Oscar transformed himself into the wizard when he stopped talking and thinking about himself and focused on the talents and potential of others. Emerald City was saved. Not every leader is a circus magician or self described con artist but leadership lesson number one is that effective leadership is worth the journey. It requires a leader who is willing to tackle seemingly insurmountable obstacles to chart a brave new course of history that is deeply rooted in the talents and skills of others.

Would Atlanta have hosted the 1996 Olympic if Billy Payne acted alone? Would Voting Rights and Civil Rights be the law of the land if Dr. King had led a one-man crusade? Both of these leaders took risks and counted on others to help realize their dreams.

Oz the Great and Powerful reminds us that power comes from the people. No matter the talent of the leader or his boastful pronouncements. In the face of long odds and complex challenges acknowledging the talents of others, harnessing that power, and taking risks are the mark of true leadership.