By Kerri Romeo
“Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end!” (from Alice in Wonderland, Chapter 1)
As Alice slowly falls through the darkness of the rabbit hole, she wonders what will happen next, but she cannot see ahead. No one who has travelled through the political rabbit hole since leading up to the 2016 elections and after could have predicted exactly where we would land and what will happen next in the story of the American Wonderland. While this is not the first time in American history there has been elevated social and political unrest, for many nothing like this has happened within their lifetime and they are either overwhelmed by the discomfort or empowered to create change. For others, it feels frighteningly familiar to their own youth and/or to their ancestral history and they fear the dangerous direction the issues and policies of today may lead. How can we feel safe and calm like Alice does despite falling through darkness towards the unknown? What if we already do?
Alice finds comfort in the familiar. She looks around to find there are still pieces from her ordinary world (book-shelves, cupboards, maps and pictures) surrounding her. She takes great care not to drop an empty jar of orange marmalade for fear it could cause harm to someone at the other end of the rabbit hole. And with all this time to think, she attempts to apply what she has learned from her school lessons to estimate where she will land with no one to reprimand her for her mistakes and misunderstandings. She remembers to be proper and polite and not to ask too many questions even in her imagined future interactions, fantasizing that everyone at home will recognize her bravery.
How do we hold onto what is comforting and familiar to us without causing harm to someone at the other end of the rabbit hole? What if we are holding onto a false sense of familiarity, stuck on status quos? Why does it seem like the more we try to imagine unity and choose what appears to be proper and polite, the more judgement and separation spreads? What if we are focusing on the grand ideas that politicians with hero complexes propose for our “safety” when they are more like Alice’s empty jar of marmalade about to shatter ahead because, unlike Alice, we forgot to concern ourselves with putting them on the shelf where they belong? Have we all (politicians, media and citizens alike) spent too long free from being reprimanded for misguided beliefs, incomplete information and lies? Alice discovers it is difficult to curtsy while falling through the air; When do we realize digging our heels into worn out ideologies is impossible? (Listen to Ask Jesse to learn more about how focusing on ideologies distract from the real issues and solutions).
Alice’s fall is slow and long and she eventually becomes comfortable enough to fall into a semi-awake sleep. Have we been falling so slowly that we have fallen asleep too?
“…suddenly, thump! thump! down she came upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over.”
The White Rabbit is still in sight. Will we follow in time?
Continue to the next installment is The Wonderland Campaign: Garden Of Dreams?
Kerri spends her days as an office administrator for a ballet barre manufacturer and her free time playing frisbee with her dog in NJ. Often at a loss for words in person, she writes to make sense of the world and connect with others. She wishes for more curiosity & kindness in the world.