Even as a child I knew there was something ethically discordant about displays of jubilation in response to the news of someone’s death – even someone as wicked as “the Wicked Witch of the East”.
I moved my chair closer to the screen every time Dorothy made her miraculous appearance in Muchkinland, intently studying the homes, faces, clothes, gestures of its inhabitants. They seemed so orderly, so tuned into beauty and whimsy and gentle co-existence.
And yet, they rejoiced boldly at the sight of a crushed body.
“Ding-dong, the witch is dead” they sang, skipping through the streets. They recited poetry in honor of the girl who happened to be in the house that happened to fall from the sky. They presented her with gifts and honors.
“She must have been a very bad witch”, I thought, sadly. And I wanted to know what she had done to them, how she had hurt them. Moreso. I wanted to know what drove her to inspire their fear, their hatred, and vengeful jubilation. Why was she this way?
And I was sad for all of them.
As Dorothy made her way down the yellow brick road with all the inhabitants of Munchkin City cheering and waving her on, celebrating that glorious day of bloodshed, my spirit wept.
As it does today.