All the President’s Goons

The Trump Administration has gone through more staff than any in history — whether through resignations or firings. Turnover is currently at 65%. This rate of turnover is unprecedented unpresidented? Even Hordak had a more reliable staff than the bumbling buffoon currently “running” the country — ruining, more like.

If we were to cast Trump’s goons — those currently left, anyway — on She-Ra, who would play which role? Let’s consider my casting options and tweet me @mozartmaid2 with your takes!

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Mantenna is the PR guy for the Horde. This nervous lackey always wants to please Hordak and is tossed into the pit just for Hordak’s pleasure. I can think of no other fitting person better than Sarah Huckabee Sanders from the admin who represents this particular character. Look, I am sure that being the PR person for Donald Trump is a nightmare on a good day. She does what she can with a shitty job, but at some point, doesn’t she know that she’s serving BS on a silver platter, degrading what was once a time honored tradition of the White House Press Briefing? Sigh… I suppose, on some level, she must feel like Mantenna getting dropped into the pit when she steps up to that podium. Still, I wish she’d see it as a place of allies instead of a pit of snakes.

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The sly Catra (obsessed with beauty in the old comics) is a fitting foil to Ivanka Trump. You’re not always sure what either of them are up to, nor do you know how much power they have behind the scenes. It seems that no matter how much smooth talking they do about what they can accomplish (wasn’t Ivanka supposed to be a reasonable voice at the outset of this insanity?), they end up bumbling it and blaming it on someone else.

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Don’t laugh. OK, maybe a little. Hear me out… Catra and Scorpia often work together and Scorpia pretty much does what Catra says — show me how the Kush doesn’t do what Ivanka says and I’ll reconsider. Scorpia never had a clear job and we are still figuring out what Jared Kushner — who was supposed to “solve the Middle East” crisis — actually does. You also NEVER hear the guy speak. Who says he doesn’t have a heavy-handed NYC Bronx accent like Scorpia?

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All those weird, dystopian speeches or comments Trump makes? Guess where a lot of them come from — Stephen Miller, aka the Santa Monica Fascist (copyright Jon Favreau on Pod Save America). He is definitely the evil Shadow Weaver of the Trump Administration. It was Bannon for a while, but you know — turnover. 😉

To be continued?

*All correlations here done for fun. Stop hurting the country and #impeach45 so we can go back to freaking out over stupid things like our president wearing a tan suit instead of worrying that our President is Russian agent. Lot of smoke for there not to be any fire: Mueller indictments so far  and Mueller, the 12 year director of the FBI and US Marine who took down Gotti, just got extended permission to investigate for another 6 months.

 

 

 

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Unexpected Ally

Who’s our unexpected ally? No, not Russia. Or, maybe Russia? What the hell is going on in the Trump administration? First Flynn was fired for his dubious ties to our old Cold War enemy, then all the sketchiness coming from various members of the Trump campaign, including Manafort, who had to make a preemptive exit. And Now, Sessions is under suspicion. It’s an awful lot of smoke to think that there’s no fire. (Here’s a cheat sheet for the Russian connections that we know of so far.)

The GOP has either dodged the question entirely on Russia or, as of today, pushed Sessions to recuse himself from any investigations into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia. But we need more from the GOP. We need a hero – an Unexpected Ally.

Enter General James Mattis. “Mad Dog” Mattis is just as hardcore as General Sundar in today’s episode. He ‘doesn’t make mistakes. He’s too good a soldier.’ Thorough, honest, and patriotic?ally01

Sundar starts out on the side of the bad guys. Being an American General, I’d like to say Mattis is on the side of the good guys — except he is working for the Trump administration. That doesn’t automatically cast him as a bad guy, but his actions contradict President Trump on what he has said 220px-james_mattisas Secretary of Defence abroad: that we will remain part of NATO and that there are no closer ties to Russia in the offing, which sounds like classic American stances. There’s a patriotic heart in him, for sure. But can he do anything to save America’s reputation in the face of Trumpism? He’s already globetrotted a bit to stem the tide of ill will. But is it enough?

In the She-Ra episode, Sundar holds Bow captive. Stretching the cartoon vs. real-world metaphor a bit, I feel like Mattis is trying to hold our collective dignity captive – trying to show the world that we haven’t elected an unhinged tyrant (for example, despite recent reports that Trump’s Joint Session speech was presidential — it was filled lies, yet Trump managed to sound calm and not attack anyone. A large feat for Trump, but not for other presidents).

I think a lot of Democrats were relieved when Mattis was given the post of Secretary of Defence. We traded our despair for a glimmer of hope –or in She-Ra’s case, a trust that her word would be honored when she traded herself in exchange for Bow’s freedom. Knowing that Mattis is a respected General gives us all a modicum of trust that can perhaps keep the crazy from coming in through the cracks. We’re willing to walk into enemy territory, trusting his honor to our country to save us, or at least, our reputation abroad.6078045439c9602841f8061d2f14e0a5

There’s a showdown that happens in the Oval Office– I mean, the Fright Zone throne room — where Sundar tells Hordak he kept his promise to release Bow in exchange for She-Ra. Hordak had expected Sundar would have kept both prisoners. I could imagine a similar sparring of character happening between Mattis and Trump. (Sundar even said that Hordak’s taxes were too high on the poor — would love to know Mattis’ thoughts on the matter of Trump’s tax plan).

Hordak says he’s not sure he can trust Sundar anymore, as he’s getting too “honest.” One can only hope that Mattis is as honest with Trump, especially when it comes to understanding geopolitics. I hope Mattis is honest in his distrust of Russia. I hope Mattis is honest in telling Trump that he can’t back out of NATO. And, if more comes to light about the Trump team having even more dubious connections to Russia, perhaps Mattis will be honest with Trump and tell him he has to resign. (Okay, I know that’s wishful thinking. I’m just wondering how much the GOP will swallow until they force the issue on Russia. Having emails on a private server was enough to send them into a dither in regards to Clinton, but ties to Russia are apparently small potatoes. Always a double standard.) I’m looking for sanity in the asylum and the only guy that seems to have it — despite even his Mad Dog moniker — appears to be Mattis.

In the episode, when Glimmer frees She-Ra from her cell, Sundar comes in to release She-Ra from her handcuffs. He asks what makes the Rebels fight so passionately and She-Ra responds “for freedom,” that it is the most precious thing in life.

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Sigh. It all depends on your definition of freedom, doesn’t it? And on what side of the political spectrum you sit. I think freedom includes a free press, free agency, and the freedom of movement (LEGAL immigration, though. I think the Dreamers have a case, but having been an immigrant myself temporarily in Europe and having suffered through bureaucracy, one needs to go through the proper channels). She-Ra, I think, means at least the latter two as well as freedom of thought, a theme that comes up again in a few episodes. She warns of becoming like one of Hordak’s “unfeeling, empty robots” without freedom.

Then Sundar asks a trooper why he follows the Horde. And the robot replies because he’s a robot and he follows orders — and he likes to bully people. Sundar says the robot gave the wrong answer and destroys the robot. He decides to free She-Ra, but says he should stay behind because he is a soldier first.

She-Ra tells him he’s not a robot, that he has feelings and can make decisions, that he has a will of his own. Sundar again claims he’s a soldier. And She-Ra tells him to “be a soldier. Take on the biggest challenge of your life.” She invites him to join the Rebellion, which has love for one another and love for freedom. She says he should fight for something, not against something. That this may be his last chance.

He decides to leave the Horde and escapes with She-Ra. Sundar breaks his leg, being too heavy for the line that Bow had set up with his rope arrow for them to escape. Sundar tells her to leave him, but She-Ra tells him that’s not how Rebels do things and she picks him up.

Then, in flies Hordak, who sics the troopers on him. She-ra takes them on with a hay cart and they all escape so Sundar can finally enjoy some freedom in Whispering Woods.

I would love to think that Mattis is the sane breath of air in the Trump administration. But I’m not sure if one ally is enough. Really it’s up to the Senate to launch an independent investigation into all the Russian ties. Mattis can only do so much — though keeping up our image abroad is very helpful. I guess I’m just hoping that there may be a few more unexpected allies in Congress. Ones that put country over party.

We’ll see. But I’m not holding my breath.

 

 

The Rock People/Troll’s Dream

I keep floating between these two episodes, unsure which one is more important at the moment, as they are both relevant to issues of immigration and discrimination happening in our country today. Troll’s Dream is about prejudice and the Rock People is about people in search of a new home, which are both extremely relevant topics in context of the refugee crisis and this administration’s determination to paint them and any muslims as a threat to America.

A few facts before we get started:

Refugees are the highest vetted group of immigrants. 

The vetting process takes 18-24 months on average.

We take in fewer refugees than Europe or Canada. Europe is especially more challenging because the land is connected to countries with a refugee crisis – it’s a matter of geography: refugees have to fly here and therefore automatically face more scrutiny.

Painting refugees as a threat to our American way of life is flat out ridiculous fear-mongering that only emboldens our enemies. Luckily we still have a strong judicial system which blocked Trump’s travel ban. However, knowing it would likely end in a 4-4 tie in the Supreme Court (therefore reverting back to the 19th District’s decision), the Trump administration won’t seek an appeal — though they may try another Executive Order.

In this episode, the Rock People are simply looking for a new home, as their sun is about to explode. They are peaceful refugees who seek a peaceful home.

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The Horde encounters the Rock People when they first land on Etheria and the refugees’ first impression of the new planet is that it is a violent world. Unlike those escaping the likes of Syria, these people have never known violence, except for the violence of their self-destructing planet. Still, in the context of a cartoon, it makes sense to paint these outsiders as peaceful from the outset.

Set upon by the Horde, eventually the Rebels show up. She-Ra gets rid of Catra and her goons, but not before Catra manages to capture one of the rock visitors. She-Ra talks to the Rock People and begs them not to judge Etheria by what they had just witnessed, that Etheria is a very peaceful place. Many Americans want to send a similar message to the world: don’t judge us by Trump’s behavior — we’re actually a very welcoming nation.

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The Rock People still think the Rebels are violent and turn down She-Ra’s offer to help them rescue their friend who has been taken by Catra. They think by approaching Hordak saying that they want peace, he’ll listen to reason and release their friend.

I once thought we were a very reasonable nation, but I fear facts and reason are gone — atcoverstory-tomac-flameout-880x1200-1486069188 least when making larger arguments about policy and what is right. The naive refugee who thinks they can find safety in America has come to find out that the light on the Statue of Liberty is extinguished.

 

She-Ra, knowing how unreasonable the authoritarian Hordak can be, respectfully disagrees that Hordak will listen, as the Rebellion had tried that tactic in the past and they had failed. She-Ra says that Hordak forces them to fight and that they will free their friend.

The Rock People still turn down the Rebels’ help, thanking them and then flying off. Broom thinks they are cowards, but She-Ra says wisely that sometimes it takes more courage not to fight. Instead, it’s better to #resist. 😉

Unfortunately, the Rock People are immediately met with Horde Troopers and Catra, inevitable violence in the offing. They take them to Hordak, who wants to learn how they travel in space without a spaceship, and the Rock People explain that there is no secret – it’s just natural for them to travel that way. Hordak suggests that when he puts them in chains, they’ll change their mind.

The Rock People realize that She-Ra was right and that you can’t reason with the Horde. They decide to fight to defend themselves, but vow not to hurt the Horde. They are naturally stronger than the robot Horde Troopers, but they free their friend, Rock-On.

Shadow Weaver casts a spell to melt them, just as She-Ra enters. Bow shoots an arrow of light to block Shadow Weaver’s magic. Meanwhile, Madame Razz works on a spell to counteract Shadow Weaver’s spell.

As She-Ra is almost hit by a blast from Hordak, Stone-Dar physically stops him, commenting on how he cannot let Hordak harm She-Ra.

She-Ra and her friends leave the Fright Zone. She knows exactly where the to take the Rock People where they can live in peace: to the land of the trolls.

Part 2

They are all untrustworthy. They all lie. They look different from us. They are all dangerous.

Muslims? Or trolls?

Even on Etheria there is a group that is distrusted simply because it is different. They live differently, they dress differently.

In this She-Ra episode, one troll goes to Whispering Woods, seeking Adora’s help even though he is reviled. Two sprites see him and accuse him of spying. 814f3d04d93d596f8c0cd8b1d912880cBow shoots a smoke arrow and they tie up the troll, convinced he only wants to do harm. ep3402

The troll asks yet again to see Adora, but the Rebels won’t listen. So, unable to get help, the troll acts out by smashing a table. Adora shows up and stops the madness. Finally, the troll is able to tell Adora that Ahgo, king of the trolls, seeks her help. Bow unhelpfully says that she can’t trust a troll, but Adora is made of sterner stuff and tells Bow to hush.

The immediate distrust of the troll is reflective of the government’s reflexive distrust toward muslims. Because there were bad actors in the past, it should never be assumed that a whole group is bad.

Adora understands that trolls are different and behave in odd ways — yet she still sees their humanity. She asks Grox the troll to put down the table, promising no one will attack him, so they can talk. Grox tells her that Ahgo needs to see She-Ra right away, and Adora promises to pass on the message.

Adora tells the other Rebels that they must offer the troll every hospitality, that he is their friend — offering a true Christian heart. The Rebels still don’t trust the troll, so Adora tells Grox should go for now.

Adora admonishes Sprag the sprite for his treatment of Grox. Bow blames Grox and Adora asks the group if anyone even asked why he was there. Sheepishly the group admits that they made the worst assumption right off the bat.

Sprag says you can’t ask a troll anything because they’re too stupid. And Adora points out that they attacked him without any reason. Sprag says his being a troll was reason enough. Bow says, “We all know how trolls are.” This rampant racism is now alive and well in the highest office of the land, which is starting to echo in other corners of the country. However, I believe that most Americans understand the difference between radical Islam and everyday Muslims. But the simple portrayal of racism in this episode shows how distrust can quickly fester and manifest.

Yet, as Adora points out a troll that helped She-Ra find Crystal Castle and saved Bright Moon from the Horde, we must remember people that have helped our cause. The Rebellion says they still don’t trust the trolls. Adora gives them an ultimatum; they all can come along with She-Ra to see Ahgo, the king, or they can leave the Rebellion.

She-Ra goes to King Ahgo and he tells her about a dream he had about an ancient evil, the Spider of Crystal, a monster that came from another world. The trolls had sealed it shut years ago, though Ahgo thinks someone is trying to break the seal. It lies in Horde territory and Ahgo says he’ll send Grox with She-Ra.

Grox does not want to go, knowing the group besides She-Ra, are “troll-haters.”

Reluctant, the group makes their way to Skull Path.

We meet an evil wizard who lives in Skull Path who sets evil bones to live to attack the Rebels. She-Ra, Bow, and Sprag try to attack the bat bones. Bow and Sprag are captured by one of the bats but Grox uses a rope to save them – just in time to be captured himself.

Bow and Sprag vow to help Grox, grateful for his help. They decide to split up. Bow and Sprag go off to save Grox while She-Ra goes to stop the Spider of the Crystal.

We now see Shadow Weaver and Scorpia about to open the ancient evil door.mondor02

Bow, Sprag, and Kowl reach Drear Keep, where Grox is being held. They climb the keep and meet the evil wizard. Bow momentarily blinds him with a trick, while Kowl steals his wand, and Sprag puts a bucket on his head — easily thwarted so they can go look for their new friend.

Grox was surprised to see his rescuers and they all vow to be friends.

Meanwhile, Shadow Weaver finds the Crystal Spider and wants to try a spell. It becomes as large as a monster, just as She-Ra arrives and meets her friends.

The monster spider starts to wander and King Ahgo shows up to help, seeing his dream come to pass. They try to throw stones at the spider, causing it to follow them to a circle of rocks, where She-Ra pushes a few large boulders to trap it. Then Ahgo uses magic to trap the spider in a mountain of stone.

The trolls are heralded as heroes back in Whispering Woods. “That there is an end to the hate between us, is more than enough, my little friend.”

So both of these episodes deal with not understanding the strangers among us. One, is a stranger from a faraway land, and the other is one who has done harm in the past that cannot be trusted. We embark on a dangerous road when we categorize a whole group of people as dangerous; we risk helping those who would do us harm by giving them propaganda to feed the negativity. By not helping the refugee, we betray our own ideals of inclusion and acceptance, of being given the chance to make it in America. It’s for these reasons that these two episodes are intertwined for me — they both teach about tolerance, learning about those different than you, and seeking a peaceful way forward.

 

Book Burning

The assault on science and facts has been an Orwellian attack on knowing what is fundamentally true about just about anything. We now have “alternative facts” (once known as lies). We have spineless yes-men who will defend this administration no matter what it does. And while previous administrations have employed people to help uphold their decisions, the Trump administration’s clumsy handling of our norms, laws, and fact-based world is especially egregious. All I can think is that the likes of Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway have sold their souls and basic integrity for a handsome paycheck. They cannot possibly sustain this untenable stream of lies and reality-distorting statements — it will fundamentally test our democracy and the delicate balance of power that allows our democracy to function. It is fundamentally a war on truth.

Which is why ‘Book Burning’ is so relevant.

This episode starts out in a school with Adora and Bow explaining the truth about the Horde. One Trump- sorry,Horde supporting lad says that the Horde was invited to bring peace to Etheria. Adora calmly calls out the lie — as she would well know, having been a member of the Horde before discovering her true identity. As the Horde appears, Bow and Adora sneak out while Hordak’s goons enter the school.

Secretary of Ed Betsy DeVos– sorry, I mean Leech (It’s hard to keep them straight) — tells the teacher that she will only be teaching from Horde books from now on. Perhaps I’m jumping the gun here, but even as a Christian, I fear the teaching of religion in schools. I don’t think it’s appropriate, especially when it supplants science and reasoning. I’m afraid that DeVos is not only highly unqualified for the position for which she was confirmed this week, but that she is out to enrich only herself, using the motive to “expand God’s kingdom” as her excuse. Lord help us…

Leech says the teacher’s books are only good for burning. And the little anti-liberal kid tips off Mantenna as to where She-Ra and Bow had escaped.  Adora and Bow easily thwart them.

Hordak enters an unimpressed-looking village and says he’s come to free them from the “evil books of the rebels.” In Trump fashion, he has a paid clapper, Mantenna. Hordak goes on to say he’s collecting all books to stop lies spreading about the Horde. Oh man, where do I begin in how this relates to Trump? I know it’s only been about three weeks (though it feels like a hundred), but the first week in Office, Trump tried to silence the National Parks, the EPA, and has since threatened to gut or outright eliminate these agencies and even make it easier for people to poison your dog. He wants to silence anyone that disagrees with him and Hordak taking away people’s books is a good metaphor for that. Climate scientists were frantically sending data to Canada in anticipation of the Trump administration, which has since erased any mention of climate change from the WH website.

Hordak also puts up a highly unqualified teacher to teach the children of the village, Tongue Lasher. Perhaps not as attractive as DeVos, but certainly just as unqualified.

Hordak recruits a Horde spy in the pro-Trump kid.

The teacher, meanwhile, invites students to her house to read about history, something else the Trump administration wants to ignore in pushing racist Jefferson Sessions down our throats.

Thugs show up at the poor teacher’s house and she is arrested and her books are to be burned. I love how matter-of-factly Adora then says, “Well, they’ve put the teacher in jail so there’s only one thing to do–” and transforms into She-Ra to go rescue her. 🙂

She-Ra’s next mission: to save the books!

The Horde lights them on fire, as She-Ra is too late. The Julia Childs-like teacher says that without the books, there will be nothing to prevent the Horde from teaching the children lies, which we see in the next segment as skeptical children listen to Tongue Lasher’s lies.

Then when a child calls him out, one by one the kids rebel and claim they said something against the Horde. Tongue Lasher threatens to send all the kids to the Fright Zone, so two kids go find Adora to tell her what happened. Our little traitor radios the Horde and tells them what he saw.she-ra-princess-of-power-season-1-episode-26-book-burning

Tongue Lasher announces to the people that “because the school is not good enough for your children, we are sending them to a special Horde school.” I take it back. Tongue Lasher IS Betsy DeVos. “Public school isn’t good enough. Continue to enrich me by sending them to charter schools.” (She made a mess of charter schools in Michigan, for the record.)

The people of the village tried to fight back — just as many people tried to stop DeVos’ nomination — but Tongue Lasher sics Horde troopers on the village to stop their protests. Tongue Lasther says to another Hordesman, “After a week in the Fright Zone, these children will believe any lies we tell them.” Might as well be the Fox News Zone; same idea, sadly.

Corey, the eager recruit for the Horde, finally fights back when his sister is taken away by a Trooper. But Tongue Lasher just laughs at him for calling himself a member of the Horde: “We used you, boy! We don’t need you anymore.” Alas, poor Trump supporters. I’m afraid you’re in for a similar betrayal, though you don’t realize it yet.

He runs to the teacher who points out that the Horde doesn’t care about people, but the Rebels do. The boy, realizing his mistake, confesses that he helped the Horde and that they will be coming after them.

I’d like to not use such a big brush as to paint ALL republicans as members of the Horde, but I want to note that they have not put forth one thing that will help average Americans. Every bill is either to destroy an institution, gut ethics committees (this one did get stopped), roll back Wall Street regulation, or give tax cuts to the rich (and that’s the short list). So, no, I don’t see evidence that republicans care about the people. Feel free to present evidence to the contrary. And while the democrats have made a mess of it, I do think they WANT to help people. We at least have champions like Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Corey Booker who are trying to do what’s right – henceforth, our “Rebels.”

Meanwhile, Adora and Bow go to the Fright Zone to find the stolen children. Adora is captured and her sword is tossed aside by the Horde. Corey sneaks off to find Adora and gets her sword and frees her.blog_size_of_the_sword

Adora sends him away so she can change into She-Ra and escape. She attacks a transport and frees the children, villagers, and even Bow, though they are not out of danger yet.  This angers Hordak, who comes after the villagers in retaliation. Tongue Lasher burns some of the village to show the poor people who’s really in control.

She-Ra gets Swiftwind and flies off to find some water. She uses her sword to literally cut out a lake (not sure how environmentally friendly that is, but she means well) to douse the flames of the fire the Horde had started.

Hordak gives up to the cheers of the village and She-Ra gets Tongue Lasher literally tongue-tied. The water rusted the robots, making the Horde Troopers ineffectual as well. Back as Adora, everyone pats each other on the back and laughs that Hordak won’t be back for a long time. Corey admits he was wrong about the Horde. And the reason? Because he wasn’t good at reading. Can be said of many a Trump supporter (especially those who can’t  spell) and possibly of Trump himself.

The lesson here is that facts are important. The Trump administration is trying to stifle the very notion of knowable data and facts in many ways. Perhaps the most simplest and egregious is by taking down data that scientists have worked so hard to gather. Even animals are not immune. This is the fundamental war we are fighting – what is truth and what are lies. The bending of facts and reality is just as big a threat as Trump’s Cabinet picks, who themselves are riddled with conflicts of interest. But even saying that makes me a crazy lefty. It’s like we’ve jumped dimensions – because just a few months ago republicans were all worried about the Clinton Foundation and her conflicts of interest. Somehow, we have to hold the same standard across the board – not to turn a blind eye to the things that were shady about Clinton – but only if republicans wake up and realize that we may have the most corrupt administration ever elected, all covered up with disinformation and lies.

So, She-Ra’s lesson for today? Protect facts. Protect the truth.

 

 

 

A Loss for Words (and the 1st Amendment)

Tyrants love to silence dissenters. Since Trump’s inauguration, he has tried to silence the Press, the EPA, the National Parks,  and even judges through gag orders, intimidation, shaming, belittling, and a general crackdown on anything that has even a hint of disagreement with his agenda.

He’s backtracked on some of these (gag orders for the EPA, for example) after a national outcry, but he’s determined to push the boundaries of our Constitution and especially how we exercise free speech. He seems to only want to allow “free” speech that agrees with him — and that is not how this country works.

So as our First Amendment is under attack, I figured this would be the next appropriate episode of She-Ra to look at. It starts off with peasants talking about how they want to join the Rebellion to fight the Horde while enjoying a drink in a tavern. They say they are no match for the science of the Horde. Interestingly, Trump seems to eschew science or anything intellectual, for that matter — at least the Horde had some technology to support its authoritarianism. Trump seems to just want to use fear and intimidation. But what he does have in common with the Horde is a strong army. As the men discuss their options, they admit that they are just a few and perhaps too few to join the Rebellion — unlike the Trump detractors of today. (Remember that Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million and about half the country didn’t vote at all.)

Back to the Evil Horde…

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Hordak uses Shadow Weaver’s magic to “lock up” the voice of Mantenna, a stuttering henchman of the Horde who doesn’t have a say in much of anything anyway. Shadow Weaver and Hordak soon conspire to “capture the voice of the Rebel leader, Adora.” In the show, it’s a literal capture of her voice – but it certainly represents the silencing of dissenting voices and free speech.

Meanwhile, Adora heads to the village of Gailbraith to speak on behalf of the Rebels. She doesn’t know why they want to hear from her, but Bow encourages her saying that she sure inspired him. (Awww!)

They soon encounter members of the Horde and Adora literally jumps into a tree to hide and transforms into She-Ra to make quick work of the Horde henchmen.

She rejoins her friends as Adora and they continue on to the village. Back in the Fright Zone, Shadow Weaver vows to bring Adora back to Hordak herself.

Adora speaks to the same men we saw earlier enjoying a pint of whatever Etherians enjoy a pint of. She tells them there are risks joining the Rebellion and they agree that the risks are worth being free. It’s worth remembering that the Horde has virtually enslaved the people of Etheria to work in mines for slave wages, while at the same time paying high taxes. It should be noted that Trump wants to actually increase taxes by 2% on our most vulnerable families — while giving a 13.5% tax cut to the wealthiest in our country.

The Rebels’ tête-à-tête is interrupted by the appearance of Shadow Weaver, who casts a spell of putting everyone’s voice into a bubble — including Adora so she can’t change to She-Ra. All the voice bubbles are put into a box and taken back to the Fright Zone – including Adora’s. Shadow Weaver tries to take Adora with her, but Bow uses a smoke arrow to distract the evil magician. She uses a counter spell to rid the tavern of smoke, but everyone had escaped in the distraction.

Bow and Adora head to the Fright Zone to recover the voice bubbles. Hordak is uncertain about the reliability of magic and threatens to take away Shadow Weaver’s magic. He says he trusts science more. I wish I could say the same for Trump. He’s much more reliant on gut feelings than either facts or science, but I digress…

He puts Shadow Weaver in a power beam to threaten her and she admits that she is loyal to only the Horde. Our unmerciful Hordak throws Mantenna a bone and gives him his voice back, but then immediately drops him into a pit.

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This is how I feel about people who continue to follow an ideology that is against their interests: they are willing to take the “bone” of whatever makes them vote, but then the rug gets taken out from under them as jobs get sent overseas or healthcare is taken away.

Back to our heroes.

Adora, unable to bust in as She-Ra, needs to think of a smarter way of getting the voices back. So she sneaks around the throne room and gets the box of voices off Hordak’s throne while Bow distracts Hordak and Shadow Weaver with an arrow that explodes into fireworks.

Adora has at last found her voice and transforms into She-Ra and confronts Hordak. Shadow Weaver tries some fire magic, but Bow uses his arrow to send her back into the power beam Hordak had used earlier. Ultimately, Shadow Weaver is limited in her ability to do damage because the Rebels are quicker and smarter than she is.

Hordak finds himself stuck in a hole and changes shape to get out of it. Isn’t this just the metaphor for Trump? He seems to get stuck in what he’s done, but manages to shape shift into something else before anyone can focus on what the issue was.

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Hordak frees himself and She-Ra tosses him into the ceiling where he gets stuck again and she quips sarcastically, “Now I can really look up to you, Hordak!” I mean, can’t we all look up to Trump for getting where he is, no matter whether he deserves to be there? 😉

Anyway, Hordak gets free and tries to trap She-Ra in a literal box – but Mantenna sees his chance and sends Hordak into the pit where Mantenna had spent the better part of the episode, leaving She-Ra to kick herself free.

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Mantenna is a useful, though often weak-minded, tool to the Horde. He’s obviously intimidated by Hordak, but doesn’t waste a chance to get back at his boss. I know Trump has chosen people for their loyalty, but I wonder how many pits he’s got to drop them in before they get sick of it and decide to fight back…

Adora and Bow bring the voices back to the people, both literally and figuratively. Having been restored of their real voices, they feel the strength to shout out, “Long live the Rebellion!” They have found their voice and will not go back to being silent. Adora acknowledges the power of their sentiment and says, “I think even Hordak can hear them!”

The creators of the episode intended that it would be a springboard for children to understand free speech. The tag at the end of the episode, which would sometimes have a direct message and sometimes wouldn’t, was explicit in telling kids to ask their parents or teachers about free speech and emphasized that it was very important.

The episode very simply deals with the idea of free speech and silencing dissenting voices. I remember being very shocked by the moment when Adora couldn’t change to She-Ra as a kid. It scared me that my hero was stripped of her power. As an adult, I understand the power of speech and how important it is that we support free speech in this country — and that we must fight back whenever dissent of the ruling body is stifled. It’s why I’m writing this blog and why millions of other Americans are marching in the streets and making their opinions known on social media. We want to be sure that Trump hears us when we shout, “Long live the Rebellion!”

She-Ra Unchained

She-Ra was once part of the evil Horde, as Force Captain Adora. Enslaved by magic, she couldn’t see the evil around her. In the context of today, I see her as someone trapped in the idea that they are fighting for what is right, but cannot see what is right in front of them. They are convinced by fear that their life would be better if they trust the most powerful, even if those that hold power are not the most merciful.

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Convinced by her (as yet not known) long-lost brother, He-Man, she goes out into the world to see what the Horde is really about — seeing for the first time with fresh eyes how the Horde abuses the people.

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Her experience shows us how we can avoid prejudice by seeing the individual and not labeling an entire group. Adora is convinced through distance that the Rebellion cannot be good for they cannot see that the strength of the Horde is good. It’s a simple premise, but people are often broken of their prejudices by having someone close to them being a part of a group that that person thinks they disagree with or see as a lesser entity.

When Adora returns, He-Man is captured and taken to “The Plunder Room,” which takes his energy away from him to use for a new weapon Hordak, our villain, is creating. Metaphorically, you could see what happens to He-Man as the strength of a people being drained to be used against them as a weapon, or even to weaken their resolve in order to bring them to war. Regardless, seeing him weak makes Adora have bad dreams, unsure about what is really evil…

Her sword, which He-Man brought with him from the Sorceress, calls out to Adora in the night -much like a feeling that the truth is near, though just out of reach. She goes to where He-Man is kept, trying to convince herself that having He-Man drained of his power “is for the good of the Horde.” One could argue that what you think is for the good for one side or even for the country, is beneficial to all — except when you can see who is actually being hurt by the action. Adora sees for herself how He-Man is treated.

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Then, her conscience speaks to her through her sword, The Sword of Protection. “Let your heart guide you to the path that you know to be right. And let this sword give you the strength to follow that path. Use that strength to protect the weak and to help right the wrongs committed by the Horde,” the Sorceress says, who also reveals that He-Man is her twin brother.

Finally, Adora knows what she must do. She takes the sword and echoes the final words the Sorceress spoke, “For the honor of Grayskull!” and changes to She-Ra for the first time.

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She witnesses her brother’s strength returning and together they vow not to fight Hordak, but to escape. She-Ra quickly problem solves how to stop Hordak’s weapon and tosses a boulder to stop its beam, meant to damage Whispering Woods, meanwhile He-Man destroys the weapon itself, thereby restoring energy of dozens of prisoners who are now ready to return to the Rebellion.

“She-Ra Unchained” was always one of my favorite episodes. It shows how one can be so convinced that evil is a good thing until one day, the cracks in the armor show. You can label a whole group as a danger to society until you realize how many people from that same group are just like you and me. And by recognizing the truth of those around her, Adora finds her own true identity and her own inner strength.

To me, it is revealing that by understanding others, she learns to understand herself and finds strength to do what is right. I think this is the key to how we should look at our own role in the world. When we understand how average people are affected by oppression, prejudice, and inequality, we can find the goodness in ourselves to reach out to our neighbor and find strength in that goodness. And by being strong ourselves, we restore strength to others.