(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)
Rabbit Hole
Valerie Hinojosa, Down the Rabbit Hole, cropped

Twenty-one years ago our nation split in two, cleft by a narrative. At first the fissure seemed a crack, repairable over time.  Instead it grew. And, as it grew more and more people, some tentatively and some all-at-once, leapt to the other side, all always in the same direction.

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."   ~ the Queen, Lewis Carroll

One side preferred the perceived safety and security, business-as-usual, comfort, unity and conformity of loyalty to beneficent authority. This has happened before, of course, but perhaps not so powerfully, so insidiously as the first year of the new millennium.  Through the subsequent years, this side has consumed ever greater portions of the same mind food.  And, they have digested it all.  Dessert was served in 2021.  They had waited for it anxiously and they demanded it – for themselves and for everyone else, everywhere, regardless, or be damned!  Accept authority without question. Champion the cause du jour. Vilify anyone and everyone not in lockstep. And, you will gain the illusion of safety.

"It's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then."  ~ Alice, Lewis Carroll

The other side changed irreversibly. Surprise, disbelief, investigation, frustration, indignation, exasperation - all well worn over two decades of watching the ante go up. Until now, when one is actively targeted for watching (especially in disbelief), for critical thinking, investigating, for independence. Targeted to be marginalized, threatened, punished, coerced, labeled, segregated, excluded, expelled, proscribed. For seeing. For thinking. For drawing evidentiary conclusions. Excommunicated for questioning. For remaining free.

"The horror of that moment," the king went on, "I shall never forget!"  ~  Lewis Carroll

But, can we remember?  Remember how it was when we could talk things over with friends?  When families could relax together in conversation?  When debate could be friendly, even informative?  When we did not have to exclude relatives, friends, or any others for being unclean, for being terrorists for being different?  When daily we did not risk being somehow counted among those unclean terrorists ourselves?

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