Accepting Cuba’s aid, a step toward harmony

"The Wizard of Oz" offers some guidance in Bush's response to Cuba's offer.

This is in response to the recent Daily editorial “U.S. Should Accept Cuban Aid.”

In “The Wizard of Oz,” we first meet the Tin Man, who is valiantly searching for a heart.

We can only assume that by being the Tin Man he also has tin ears. One of the unanswered but intriguing questions must be: Can a Tin Man, with tin ears, hear the beating of a real heart?

As much as he desires this heart, will he be able to sufficiently hear it, such that he can appreciate the sound of a real heart, when he hears it?

Such is the case of President George W. Bush as the Tin Man.

Bush would have the public believe that through Katrina and its pulling away at the scab of U.S. racial and class wounds, he has indeed found a heart.

Further, he asked us to believe that not only can he hear the heart’s sound and welcome beat, indicating aliveness, but that he understands the give and take and compromise, which opens new horizons and opportunities to reach across the chasms of prior enmity.

Nevertheless, alas, when we pull the curtain back, just as with “The Wizard of Oz,” we see pure manipulation. We see that instead of viewing this opportunity to accept Castro’s generous offer of needed doctors as an opportunity to bind our own country’s racial and class wounds, and to also begin the dialogue that eventually has to come, given the changing demographics of the world, Bush – true to form – does not hear the heartbeat, but only has tin ears.

The well-lighted speech in Jackson Square sounded good. But, in the face of the rejection of Castro’s olive leaf – also long overdue – we see that just as Bush continues to have tin ears and no heart, his speech must be viewed through this lens.

It falls flat as we as Americans are forced by Bush to turn a deaf ear to his panoply of plans that we now know is without meaning and true understanding for the plight of his fellow Americans.

If he cannot accept an olive branch from Castro, Bush will never be able to work toward racial harmony with us as African-Americans, and as women, in his own backyard.

So much for the sound of one hand clapping.

Kathleen Rand Reed is president and CEO of The Rand Reed Group. Please send comments to [email protected]