By Kerri Romeo
“…and while she was peering about anxiously among the trees, a little sharp bark just over her head made her look up in a great hurry.”from Alice in Wonderland, Chapter IV
Have you ever noticed situations seem to re-appear, sometimes with minor variations and other times more distinct? History repeating itself until we learn the intended lesson. How often do we notice the similarities before we understand enough to relate them? Pocket-sized Alice finds herself in a similar situation to the Mouse’s Tale when she comes under the alert eye of a massive puppy. While the dog in the Mouse’s situation was unquestionably calculating, as opposed to Alice’s playful pup, the size of both situations is threatening.
…And so we find ourselves facing one threat or another: No matter how “dear” or decent one leader may be deemed when compared to a blatantly menacing one in opposition, misplaced power is no less of a danger to the ordinary citizen domestically or the innocent civilian across the globe. What would Alice do?
“A good many of you are probably acquainted with the old proverb: ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick — you will go far.’”Theodore Roosevelt (from his speech at the Minnesota State Fair, September 1901)
Alice attempts to keep the puppy at bay with a calming tone before she intuitively picks up a stick that immediately delights, distracts and tires the puppy out enough for Alice to get far enough away to be out of danger. A peaceful resolution…
Not quite the same intention as Teddy’s philosophy (of maintaining a military threat if others don’t do as we expect to grow and maintain our imperialistic power), one that gets romanticized like we idealize bringing decency back to the White House today. With the memorable catchphrase (that has no formal evidence of being an African proverb as he claims), Roosevelt’s full speech glamorizes the American lifestyle, distracting us from the destruction it brings to our international neighbors (and ultimately the poor and working class citizen in the US).
Looking deeper (more rabbit holes) the foreign policy of the past played into expanding the American empire at the expense of others and ourselves. It was the beginning of a trend that Eisenhower would later warn against in his Farewell Address in 1961 about the dangers of the military-industrial complex . Patriotism loses it’s red, white and blue vibrancy when it contradicts our values.
“Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower
Once safe, Alice imagines she would have enjoyed teaching the puppy tricks had she not been so small. Are we waiting until we feel safe and are the “right size” to teach our leaders to listen to us? Have you noticed many speeches in history still apply today? History will continue to repeat itself until we learn the intended lesson. As we follow the pattern of electing a republican to a democrat, then back to a republican and again to a democrat, we seem to think the lesson is based on political party. But all we are saying is Give Peace a Chance.
Do you find foreign policy confusing? (I do) Unsure why it is important for the average citizen to be aware of? Victoria Lynn Hall explains in the show notes from Episode 17 of Ask Jesse (with a link to the full episode included).
Continue your Wonderland Campaign adventure with The Caterpillar & Chrysalis
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.