Painted Roses

By Kerri Romeo

Once more she found herself in the long hall, and close to the little glass table. `Now, I’ll manage better this time,’ she said to herself.

Alice in Wonderland, Chapter VII

Now that we are back where we started in our own long hallway, facing the same issues that existed before (imperialism, corporatism and the broken systems that they create) …what will we do next?  Will we have the awareness like Alice to manage better?  Have we learned from our mistakes?  Will we do what is necessary to reach the key and fit through the tiny door this time?  Alice did…sort of.

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

Nelson Mandela (The Long Walk to Freedom, Chapter 10)

Last time Alice was in this place she did everything out of order and ended up crying on the floor, too small to reach the golden key that would unlock the tiny door to the most beautiful garden.   She learned from her previous mistakes and this time, following logic, she made sure to do everything in the correct order.  And it worked…she made it!!  She reached her goal, stepping into the rose-filled garden entrance.  But what happens next may not be what she had dreamed of or expected. 

Many today believe we got it right this time.  Logic would have us believe that immorality and incivility were voted out.  That the bright-colored rose garden will be restored (or at the very least paper hearts on display).  We made it!! But as air strikes on Syria are justified, those in power have no fear of consequences or accountability, Democrats and Republicans pretend to “fight” while our new president pretends to “unite” but only dividing, the unwitting American celebrates falling brown-edged rose petals (ie – a paltry $1400 check that is too little, too late for people who have been trying to survive through a pandemic.  Are we supposed to bow and curtsy to our aristocratic leaders?)

Alice immediately notices the illusion of the perfect garden she dreamed of reaching for so long.  White roses are only painted red.  Royalty is nothing more than a flimsy pack of playing cards. Everyone is afraid to speak the truth. Anyone can be sentenced for a crime they never committed and nobody is actually charged anyway, whether guilty or innocent.  It is a politically motivated game to show who is in power.  What would happen if we stopped playing along?

What if we knew we had a choice.

Will we be the Alice who doesn’t get involved: 

`It’s no business of mine.’

Or will we be the Alice who takes a stand:  

`Nonsense!’ said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queen was silent.

The choice may seem obvious, but our government’s painted roses have a way of twisting our perception and distorting our decisions.  Civility was the goal.  Logic is a convincing influence.  But have we gotten caught up in the painted images? In talk of transparency while lying before our own eyes?   Have we forgotten the golden key?  What about curiosity?  What about truth and compassion? Why is American aristocracy dressed in hearts when they pull out their sword? Why aren’t we listening to the ones who are afraid and also to the ones who are brave?

Who is stacking the deck anyway? To the Kings, the Queens and the Jokers…

“I needn’t be afraid of them!”


Follow Alice to her next encounter in Crooked Crowns.

Editor’s Note: On Thursday, March 11th at 9 PM ET, we will be holding our first weekly Wonderland Campaign Discussion Group Zoom meeting. It will be hosted by Amplifire Project Creative Coordinator, Victoria Lynn Hall and the series creator & writer, Kerri Romeo will be attendance to answer questions.

To attend this meeting, register in advance here:…/tZAsdeyhqjwjHdRyDYmLj3PCGvtxK…

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. We hope to see you there!

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.

Published by Kerri

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.

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