My wife and I went to see [Wicked]( for the first time this weekend. While I’m not an avid theater goer, I can say that it is by far the best play I’ve seen. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me think.

It’s the thinking part that I’m throwing out on this series of tubes because I think the moral of play is extremely important for our time. Since I was a toddler, I’ve had images of how wonderful Dorothy was and how wicked that green witch was. It never even crossed my mind that perhaps there was something different going on behind the scenes that I wasn’t privy to. Wicked brought it right to the forefront.

I realize I’m talking about two fictional stories, but the moral that Swartz is portraying in the play is one that has real consequences in our society. No one would watch [The Wizard of Oz]( and presume the Wicked Witch to be anything but cruel. On the other hand, no one could see Wicked and not be on Elphaba’s side.

This strange dichotomy immediately brought two things to my mind. First, we, as a society, have become much to quick to spew hateful words at others. If someone disagrees with an opinion we have, we immediately label them intolerant or a bigot. In reality though, by refusing to understand another persons opinion and respectfully disagree with it, we make ourselves intolerant.

I hope the next time we are looking across the isle, instead of hurling vile, we seek to understand what may have led that person to their opinion. While your experiences may have led you to another opinion, that does not mean another’s is ripe for ridicule. After all, democracy would be of no value if there were no differing opinions. Your opinions can be shared and won on their own merits, without disparaging the people on the other side.

The story also brought to mind our two presidential candidates. Both of them seem to be making their message more about how terrible the other candidate is than what they themselves have to offer. In a sense, they are both being the wizard and we are all citizens of the land of Oz. They would much rather that we hate the other and win our vote that way. I can’t help but wonder why that is? What curtain are they hiding behind? It would be refreshing if they removed the curtain and were honest with us. It seems sad that my vote may come down to who is going to be less petty.

I found this all quite depressing, especially considering that a children’s story has foretold it all and offers insight into the solutions. I still have hope though. Good seeds can bear delicious fruit in a single season.