By Kerri Romeo
‘The trial’s beginning!’
As we return to Wonderland Alice is swept into a courtroom where she finds the King, the Queen, some (stolen?) tarts and the Knave of Hearts (the defendant). Surely a court of law will bring some order to this nonsensical world.
We have watched many trials since Alice fell (jumped?) into the American political rabbit hole, both inside the courtroom [Kavanaugh, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Trump (…more than twice), Michael Flynn, Chauvin and more] and outside the courtroom through our own judgements and emotional sentencing of one another.
‘Consider your verdict,’ the King said to the jury.Alice in Wonderland, Chapter XI
‘Not yet, not yet!’ the Rabbit hastily interrupted. ‘There’s a great deal to come before that!’
We jump to conclusions without evidence. We make accusations based on propaganda. We play judge and jury, always with rationalizations to support our own argument, forgetting — or choosing not — to listen to supporting evidence in the opposition to make a fair and objective ruling. Or, like Alice, have you ever mistaken the evidence for a sweet distraction?
There is a double-meaning found in blind justice: Is it impartiality regardless of class, race and gender or is it overlooking (consciously and subconsciously) the corruption of the legal system by those with power and money? Is it blind justice or blind bias? If law is meant to be absolute, why does it bend until the less fortunate are broken? Why is someone sacrificed to make a single statement without systemic change? And how can anything be fair when those in power have influence over it all? Is it an even-handed trial when the King is the Judge and his wife (the Queen) is the plaintiff? Does the Knave, no matter his history or disposition, stand a chance?
‘Give your evidence,’ the King repeated angrily, ‘or I’ll have you executed, whether you’re nervous or not.’
Emotion is not meant to play a role in justice. Does humanity? Do even the facts really matter? How much of the attention is given to the cases that can offer dramatic and distracting spectacle (no matter how true or false) versus how much attention is given to the cases that affect the direction of our country and our relationship to the world? Freedom of speech is currently held behind bars (Julian Assange and Craig Murray). Environmental activism is threatened, silenced and has been under house arrest (Steven Donzinger). Children have their day in court (like Emma). And why do even the victories sometimes feel small?
‘Call the next witness.’
Imagine her surprise, when the White Rabbit read out, at the top of his shrill little voice, the name ‘Alice!’
How would you feel if you were unexpectedly called upon to testify? As a conscious citizen what evidence would you want to present as witness to our world? What if we put down our swords and our gavels, remove the blindfold (maybe wipe the crumbs of our own participation in the crime) and honestly witness (without judgement) what is happening?
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.