©donnaesgro – March for Our Lives 2018
As I helped a tenth grade student to interpret Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, he spoke of another “Alice” and her sad and surreal presence on his campus. The A.L.I.C.E. drills in the event of a school shooter:
Like the distorted happenings in the original Alice in Wonderland the play acting of an event so heartbreaking inside a normal school day has some convoluted idea of sense; yet is sadly surreal not only in its normalization of tragedy but in its fatalistic hopefulness.
Our conversation shifted abruptly from the children’s fantasy story of the late 1800’s to the horror story that he, and millions of young students like him, are living now. In an era where the brutal acts of tyrants are readily broadcast, and where terrorist beheadings are available for viewing on the dark internet, how can today’s high school student understand the humor in the Red Queen’s casual, “Off with her head!”?
When the quiet boy who sits across from you in math turns out to have collected an arsenal of weapons along with a kill list of students, is Alice’s sudden growth to a monstrous size a strange concept?
Or, in a time when the president of the United States lies freely and carelessly, appears and reappears with malicious and contradictory tweets hidden behind a mirthless smirk, does a Cheshire Cat’s inconstant grin seem out of place?
Trump’s recent summit with the North Korean despot, Kim Jong-un took insipid insanity to new levels.
“They have great beaches. You see that whenever they’re exploding their cannons into the ocean. I said boy look at that view” Trump, speaking of North Korea’s beaches at the 6/11/18 Summit with Kim Jong-un
Kim Jong-un is a cruel and ruthless dictator. According to a 2014 United Nations Report on North Korea, Kim Jong-un’s horrific acts include: “…extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.” Yet our president is“honored” to meet him and believes that he wants “good things for his people.”
“I know what you’re thinking about,” said Tweedledum; “but it isn’t so, nohow.” “Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.” Lewis Carroll-Through the Looking Glass
As we turn our heads away in grief and helplessness from each new school shooting, each suffering and separated immigrant family, each attempt to undermine our free press and other constitutional rights, as we accept deceit after deceit and horror after horror in order to get through the day, we are in grave danger of losing the very sense of humanity that makes life more than just an empty struggle for survival.
The question is: How much are we willing to tolerate? In the case of the powerful gun lobby, how much blood is on our own hands if we fail to demand that our children be educated in a society that respects their right to live more than their right to carry a weapon? As far as separating immigrant children from their parents, I call on, not only civil rights and lawful actions, but human decency itself to stop this cruel and immoral practice.
In a chaotic and confusing world we must agree on fundamental tenets of right and wrong, objective perceptions of lies and truth, the difference between good and evil, or we are lost. As an educator as well as citizen of the United States and the World, I am keenly aware of the importance of teaching critical thinking, encouraging students to speak truth to power and to question what seems nonsensical. The intellectual labyrinths that Alice had to navigate in Wonderland were innocent games. Today’s children, by comparison, are walking through minefields.
“He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.” Donald Trump speaking of Kim Jong-un
We are at attention, Trump, but not in the way you would desire. We are standing up, we are speaking out, we are marching, voting and resisting. We are millions strong and growing.
“Separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats. Border Security laws should be changed but the Dems can’t get their act together! Started the wall.” Donald Trump (Twitter 6/15/18)
“Suddenly, early in the spring, an alarming thing was discovered. Snowball was secretly frequenting the farm by night!…Every night, it was said, he came creeping in under cover of darkness…He stole the corn, he upset the milk-pails, he broke the eggs, he trampled the seedbeds, he gnawed the bark off the fruit trees. Whenever anything went wrong it became usual to attribute it to Snowball. If a window was broken or a drain was blocked up, someone was certain to say that Snowball had come in the night and done it…’ George Orwell – Animal Farm (Chapter 7)