Out of the night, when the full moon is bright
Comes the horseman known as Zorro
This bold renegade, carves a Z with his blade
The horesman known as Zorro*
I watched the Antonio Banderas' film "Mark of Zorro" recently. Being the Zorro aficionado that I am, after the show I got out my video of the Tyrone Power classic “The Mark of Zorro” and watched it as well.
While watching the movie, I felt as if there were something familiar about this story. Something other than the the dialogue, which I know almost verbatim.
One scene particularly evoked parallels to the present state of America. It is the segment in which young de la Vega, recently returned to California after attending school in Spain, learns that his father, a wealthy landowner and nobleman, had been deposed as the Alcalde of Los Angeles.
For those unfamiliar with the movie, after deposing the elder de la Vega, the new Alcalde raised the taxes of the peons in order to make them " more industrious." There was something familiar about this concept of raising taxes to create wealth and help the economy.
However, the Alcalde was actually enriching himself instead of the taxpayers. This was illustrated in a subsequent scene in which the Alcalde is admiring a bantam owned by a peon. The Alcalde asks the price of the bird. When the peon tells him it is not for sale, the Alcalde threatens to review his tax obligations. The terrified peon then makes " a gift " of the rooster to the Alcalde.
There was an analogy here, although I still was not quite sure what it was.
Young de la Vega is outraged by these injustices. He resolves to restore his father as Alcalde and help the peons. He takes the secret identity of Zorro and proceeds to rob the tax money collected from the peons by the governmentand return it to them.
This too was a familiar concept. I have heard people say they wanted to return taxes to the people.
It finally came to me when Zorro, fleeing the Alcalde's soldiers, is hiding in the mission. He is disguised as a monk.
There the innocent, beautiful young niece of the evil Alcalde is praying to escape the depressing environs of the Pueblo De Los Angeles. She was sent there to live with her uncle, sort of like an intern. However, there were no young men her age with whom to associate.
Thinking Zorro is a priest; she confides in him that she has been thinking of entering a convent. Zorro tells her that a beautiful young woman should be married and have children.
That is when I realized what was familiar about this plot.
Zorro is a Republican - and a conservative one. Had he been a liberal Democrat, Zorro would have seduced the young woman and, if she became pregnant, counseled her to get an abortion.
It all made sense now.
The evil Alcalde subjugates the caballeros - upper middle class. He oppressively taxes all of the people - ostensibly for their own good, but in reality to empower himself. Then comes Zorro, who wants the taxes returned to the people - just like Republicans.
My theory was reinforced in subsequent scenes. When the parish priest is arrested for refusing to pay the mission taxes it reminded me of the liberal mantra of separation of church and state.
When Zorro finally leads the caballeros in a revolt against the Alcalde, I recalled the 1994 elections when the Democrats lost control of Congress for the first time in a generation.
Now, I am sure that my opinion will come as a shock to the Hollywood producers of the most recent Zorro movie. However, the evidence is irrefutable.
Zorro championed the cause of the people, rich and poor, against liberals bent on profiting from excessive taxation. Zorro lead the revolt against an expansive government.
Unfortunately, unlike Zorro, the Republican revolution in Washington waned. Maybe they should see the old Zorro movie. Maybe they can draw some inspiration from it. Maybe they can use some of Zorro’s ideas.
I can just see Sarah Palin, with mask and cape, riding a white horse up the steps of the White House - carving an “S” on the door of Alcalde Obama’s office.
* Disney’s Zorro TV theme