By Kerri Romeo
With the morning comes a new adventure! Alice waters the ground where she planted her seeds (it is important to continue to care for the ideas we sow) and listens for the Canary’s song as she sets out to catch up with her friends to be filled in on what they have learned about their Mission Possibles.
Alice thinks of all the questions she will ask when she reaches the Canary and her children at the UNICEF USA headquarters in New York City. Alice is headed towards Wonderland – NYC! Even big cities (ESPECIALLY big cities) have rabbit holes. She wants to know about the children in Syria and Yemen and Palestine and why the US ranks so high in poverty when they are the richest country in the world. She must be getting near because an irritating noise is drowning out the song of the Canaries. She pauses for a moment to try to tune into her friends’ song. It is no use. It is as if something is intentionally distracting her. She follows a bright light up ahead.
Alice comes to a stop at a large square screen with moving images (they didn’t have those in 1865). She…is…mesmerized. Within under 4 minutes she develops a craving for a colorful (sugary!) bowl of cereal (how did she ever get by on tea and biscuits before?) and Taco Tuesday sounds like delicious fun for her dinner next week; She decides she needs to get the all-terrain adventure van for her and all her Wonderland friends to fit and she knows which car insurance she will get (how did Bill from Wonderland get into the screen? He must be so successful now); And how helpful it would be to have that cell phone right now to call the Canary because it will be nearly impossible to hear her song now over all this noise. She may not have money, but that credit card looks easy enough to swipe and pay!
People with smiling faces and bright white teeth appear on the screen next. The words “BREAKING NEWS” flash across the screen and the faces furrow their brows to share the latest news. She hears someone nearby grumble that this channel doesn’t tell the truth and to switch to the one they trust…
More smiling faces, bright teeth and furrowed brows while the words “BREAKING TONIGHT” flashes. More grumbles from people walking by…
Another network. Some of the stories sound the same, yet from a different perspective. Each channel also focuses on their own interests (one about gun violence, another about COVID vaccinations and another about the attack on the Capitol). Alice wonders why nobody talks about the well-being of children? Why doesn’t anyone talk about how to create a sustainable world? She overhears conversations about policies and laws, opinions and rationalizations. The crowd reminds her of the pack of cards in Wonderland
‘That’s right, Five! Always lay the blame on others!
‘You’d better not talk!’ said Five.Alice in Wonderland, Chapter VIII
Since everyone is discussing their thoughts Alice is excited to share the ideas her Wonderland Reboot friends envisioned. But she is told to quiet down. She is told her ideas are silly and a waste of time. She is told her ideas won’t solve anything. She is told the only way to fix the problems is to focus on the problems. She is told she should only share her ideas with her friends, not strangers. Red-faced, Alice returns to the screen for more socially acceptable answers. Maybe she just needs to learn how to fit in better.
A video begins to play on the screen:
“…How did we get that culture? Why can we not talk openly and proudly about what we would like, not what we expect to get, but the world we would like to live in without being labeled naive, idealist, unrealistic….this is our cultural reaction to visionaries”Donella Meadows (from Down to Earth)
Alice lights up! This isn’t like the other channels.
“…I also have become aware that children are natural visionaries”
As children, we have more freedom to dream. We subconsciously expect that adults will provide us with safety, security and stability. Are we providing those protections to our children today? Did you feel safe as a child? Are we still seeking those safeguards (now from politicians and corporations) as adults? Is it working? Do you feel free to dream?
Back in our American Wonderland it is easy to be drawn into the mainstream as an adult. Returning to our regularly scheduled programming we stay “informed” in our busy lives with a crash course in the economy, social issues, the weather, and just enough politics to feel like a responsible citizen with 30 minutes of prime-time MSM news playing in the background while the family dinner is cooking in the mad rush after work and kids’ activities before we crash our head to the pillow to be ready to start over the next day. Is responsibility only thought-driven? Do we consider it irresponsible to be motivated by our hearts when it comes to our loved ones?
“…the more a vision is shared, the more responsible it gets, also the more ethical it gets”
No matter how responsible we are still motivated by hopes and dreams. But are they our own? Commercial breaks hand-feed us our dreams as we are enticed with where to vacation, how to create the dream home, what toothpaste and beauty products will make you feel beautiful, look beautiful, smell beautiful. When we head to the doctor and they pull out the prescription pad we already have visions of the happy and relieved people we saw in that medication commercial from the night before. Propaganda and consumerism are powerfully persuasive when we are taught to believe they are our only options. What if you were reminded that there are other options?
“…Holding onto the vision reveals the path”
Alice closes her eyes. She can hear the song of her friends again…
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.