The hatter and the hare

Apologies to the Reverend Richard Burden, who used this text in his sermon last Sunday.

“Cheshire Puss,’ Alice began, rather timidly…”

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’

‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.

‘I don’t much care where—’ said Alice.

‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.

‘—so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.

‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.’

Alice felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another question. ‘What sort of people live about here?’

‘In THAT direction,’ the Cat said, waving its right paw round, ‘lives a Hatter: and in THAT direction,’ waving the other paw, ‘lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.’

‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked.

‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: ‘we’re all mad here.”

“‘we’re all mad here.,” said the Cat. “I’m mad. You’re mad.’

‘How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice.

‘You must be,’ said the Cat, ‘or you wouldn’t have come here.”

We have heard much talk, much of it gravely misguided in my opinion, about how the election of Donald Trump means that America wants “change”. The above satire marvelously and humorously parodies this error.

Here is another insight from the sermon:

So where do we go from here?

“‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.

‘I don’t much care where—’ said Alice.

‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.”

Or as St. George Harrison said, “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

Some of us do, in fact, know where we’re going. The premise that we should somehow sympathize or reinforce those who voted for Mr. Trump because any change is preferable is, in my view, profoundly mistaken. The point of this satire is NOT that both the hatter and the hare are mad. The point of the exercise is the insanity of allowing ourselves to embrace the lunacy of Wonderland.

We do NOT live in Alice’s Wonderland. There is a profound difference between our two parties, and those who deny that difference are in my view doing all of us a terrible disservice.

Recommended by christopher, petr, fredrichlariccia.


3 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Who are these enablers and deniers? What do you hope to accomplish for he future?

    Asking for the party to return to its roots as a populist party agitating for broad based economic opportunity is a pragmatic response to an electorate unconvinced that’s where our party was. It’s a challenge and an opportunity who have no choice but to seize.

    No one was sadder, more scared or feeling more alone on election night than my wife. Many of her friends told her to her face “we know you’re one of the good ones”, my sister in law was getting trolled on her student paper to “be deported already”. My black friends and relatives are scared and outraged. So are my Latino, Muslim and LGBT friends-including one of my longest friends who courageously came out as Q thinking about T in response to the election and has my full support.

    Frankly it’s mostly white men and political junkies on this site, we aren’t the ones who need to comfort each other about solidarity against racism and the other isms and phobias. I’ve done plenty of that over the phone, in person, and all over social media. I have confronted the Trump voters in my own life to let them know their vote makes me uncomfortable and concerned.

    Listening to their point of view has helped me already become a better organizer and fighter for progressive causes. It will make me a better teacher and a better friend. Jesse Jackson campaigned for jobs in rural America besides people that literally threw stones at him in Selma. They came around to his economic message even if they may not have been fully cured of their racism. This work is hard and empathy is at the core of the work.

    I refuse to slice and dice the country. Trump has done that and hurt America for political gain. Clinton did that and ignored some constituencies feeling let down by her candidacy. Including communities of color that felt she wasn’t a sufficiently bold enough advocate for their needs.

    Politics isn’t a blood sport-it’s how we choose to form community in a civil society. Ten months of full time campaign work across the political spectrum, across the state and across racial and class lines have taught me that everyone wants the same things. Good schools, good jobs, better prospects for their families and security from the uncertainties of life from health scares to terrorism. And government is still the best and most effective means of meeting those needs. My belief in that will never waver. But America has to be resold on that message in these uncertain times.

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Fri 28 Apr 3:58 PM