‘Ay díos mio, Toto, we’re not in Guatemala anymore.” Little Dora had never seen a talking scarecrow before. “Where am I?”
The scarecrow looked down at the filthy little girl who barely came up to his knees. “You’re in the land of Az.”
“¿Quienes son ustedes?”
“I’m a scarecrow. Well, to be specific, I’m a straw man.”
His worn diploma in hand, the scarecrow affected the manner of a great scholar. “Straw man. Noun. An imaginary threat set up to frighten the average voter; to rouse the hatred and anger of the base. See ‘yahoo.’ This ‘threat’ is then defeated by a shameless opportunistic race-baiting politician in a mock battle designed to distract the voters from the real issues.”
“Ay señor. No entiendo.”
“This is Az. You will.”
The scarecrow suggested they travel together to the Emerald City’s detention facility. The scarecrow told Dora she couldn’t stay.
“Scarecrow, no me gusta este desierto.”
“Me, either,” said the scarecrow. “It’s full of lions and tigers and coyotes and smugglers.”
“Oh, my!” cried Dora.
At that moment a stout lion jumped out from behind a cactus and growled at them. It was a cowardly politician! “Go home! I know you’re invading Az to commit voter fraud and infect us all with disease. Come on. Put your dukes up! I’ll round you all up with one hand tied behind my back!”
While Dora sobbed and clutched Toto the cowardly politician grinned and scanned the horizon in hopes a Fox news film crew was filming this exchange. The scarecrow snapped, “Why don’t you pick on someone your own size? Why aren’t you working on meaningful immigration reform instead of bullying children?”
“I don’t have the nerve. It’s election season. I’m just a windy lion.”
Dora and the scarecrow ran as fast they could into a canyon where they came upon a Tin Man sitting in an old rusty pickup. Dora said, “Who are you, señor?”
“I’m a tin man!” He tapped his tin badges. “Border militia.”
“Can you help us? I’m thirsty. Estoy cansado.”
He thumped his chest. “Sorry. I don’t have a heart. You’re under citizen’s arrest!” Dora and the scarecrow ran as fast they could into an arroyo where they hid until dawn.
Finally Dora and the scarecrow arrived at the Emerald City’s great golden door. Carved on the great door were the words, “Give me your tired, your poor, your teeming masses yearning to breathe free.” Dora knocked.
The door swung open and a statuesque woman appeared. She was wearing a toga, a crown with seven points and holding a torch high over their heads. She said, “Who are you?”
“Mi nombre es Dora, señora. Y this is mi amigo, the scarecrow. Yo soy un refugiado! I’m turning myself in.”
“Well, bless my buttons! Why didn’t you say so? Come on in!” And with that, Lady Liberty opened the door. “You need to see the Wizard of Immigration.”
Inside the Emerald City, they were led up the steps of a great palace and down a great hall. Finally, Dora, Toto and the scarecrow stood in front of the giant ghostly head of a terrifying oracle with a thundering voice.”Behold the magnificent Wizard of Immigration! What do you wish of the great and powerful Wizard?”
“T-t-to escape the p-p-poverty y la violencia de Guatemala.”
“How did this disgusting child get in here? Secure our borders!” As the Wizard thundered, balls of fire rolled up into the ceiling, smoke billowed and mirrors flashed.
Behind his curtain there was no wizard, only the cowardly politician, who smiled as he thought to himself, “Our border could be defended by 100,000 winged monkeys and it will never be secure enough! It’s the political campaign gift that keeps on giving!” Spinning dials and pulling switches, the small man stood on his tiptoes and bellowed into the microphone.
“Go away! Self deport! The great and powerful Wizard has spoken!”
That night, peering through the window in her detention cell, Dora looked up at the stars that surely were shining on her tío in Kansas and her worried mother back home.
In a hearing room Glinda the Good Judge waved her gavel over Dora’s tiny bare feet like it was a magic wand.
“Little Dora, you had the power to go home all along. Close your eyes, tap your heels together three times and repeat after me, there’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”
“But señora, that’s the point! There is no place like home! I can’t go back there. I’ll die! I am a refugee ...”
With a wave of Glinda’s gavel, Dora was gone and Toto euthanized. But what of the scarecrow? The scarecrow was invited to stay in Az. He eventually came to rule over all of the West, a place where straw men were always welcome.