By Kerri Romeo
Before Alice, the Mouse and the group of Wonderland creatures swam to shore the Mouse offered to share why he and his family strongly oppose cats and dogs. Once they reached shore, the caucus and the prize ceremony for the winners of the caucus race took priority, but Alice didn’t forget the Mouse had a story to tell.
“`You promised to tell me your history, you know,’ said Alice” (from Alice In Wonderland, Chapter III)
Back in our American Political Wonderland our nation’s priority for the past two-ish years has been the presidential election. As I write this we do not know the results of the election. At some point there will be an overindulgent prize ceremony (even Alice found such a ceremony absurd) full of elites whose day-to-day lives will not really be affected in any way had they “won” or “lost”.
Either way, the next steps will be the same for the rest of us. Some will fall asleep until the next presidential election (often because we don’t know what else we can do). Some never were involved (whether we have understandably felt powerless or unheard or misunderstand the true purpose of politics). For some this has become a part of our life and we will continue to jump into rabbit holes to uncover the truths in Wonderland.
No matter which path you are on there is something we can all participate in to stay engaged (and not even have to use the negatively laced word politics). Remember that we all have a story. Some of our stories are individual and some are collective; Some are happening right now and some are a part of our history. Every story that is shared can change both the storyteller and the listener. Every story informs our choices. Every story creates our politics.
The Mouse tells a story about one of his ancestors who encountered a cur (a now-extinct herding dog). It was a story of power and position, of which the mouse had none and the dog had all, playing both judge and jury in a trial to be held for no other reason than the dog was bored. This family story carried down through generations to the Mouse in Wonderland who now held a fear and prejudice towards all dogs. Our country’s past and present is plagued with an imbalance of power and influence. Can we relate to the Mouse’s story? Is our life today affected by the wounds of our ancestors? How do we heal our own prejudices and biases (whether related to class, race, gender, religion, speciesism, ageism, political partisan or any other inequality)? Some of it will involve personal work related to the Stories We Tell ourselves (with Dr. Cindy Nye), but also connecting with one another as a community. Is telling our story enough though?
“`You are not attending!’ said the Mouse to Alice severely. `What are you thinking of?'”
People often believe they are good communicators if they are good speakers. But communication also requires listening. Alice became distracted by the Mouse’s physical tail more than his story. The Mouse felt he was not being heard and walked away with his unresolved issues. Are we listening to one another? As the issues in our nation remain unresolved and history repeats itself with the “lesser of two evils” choices every presidential election, we either aren’t honestly sharing our stories or aren’t listening to one another.
Victoria Lynn Hall reminds us that reading, watching, listening and engaging with trusted sources are all part of Active Listening.
How does storytelling create change? As Michael and Larkin Harrington, founders of the Amplifire Project explains on At the Crossroads with Mary Hollywood, the stories that are shared within a community of younger and older generations become a part of us and can inspire us to “break down walls” for those stories to be heard.
Not all stories need to be our own to have an impact. In an incredible episode from his solo podcast, Jesse Crall shares the story of a young girl in Iraq that will change the way you see America and foreign policy and why we cannot go to sleep until the next presidential election.
Tell us a story. We promise we are listening.
continue reading the Wonderland Campaign story with Mistaken Identity
Kerri is an advocate for the introverted activist. 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.