The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

Alice in Wonderland 2020: We’re all mad here


The list of unfathomable events that have already occurred in 2020 is mind-boggling proof that truth is stranger than fiction. These are undoubtedly historic, unprecedented times, and to many it feels like we are living in a bad dystopian movie. 

While it is easy to get caught up in the mass hysteria, being paralyzed by fear is detrimental to emotional, mental, and physical well-being. In times like these, it is advisable to have an appropriate level of apprehension, regardless of the media hype and politicization of current events. 

The table is set for a wild ride this fall, and while it may seem an insurmountable task to overcome these obstacles, as Alice observed on her adventure, “The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it is possible.” 

With political propaganda and authoritarian dictates difficult to distinguish from fact and science, it is helpful to avoid groupthink and herd mentality. Like Mark Twain said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.”

There is no shortage of controversy to explore in 2020. To recap some lowlights of this rollercoaster year:

The President of the United States was impeached, only the third such occurrence in the history of the nation. 

Geopolitical turmoil and saber rattling is at full throttle, and the likelihood of an all-out war or series of conflicts is all but guaranteed given the current economic and political climate.

Medical authorities declared a worldwide pandemic in March. More than 800,000 are reported dead around the globe, and contradictory guidance from a litany of supposed experts has contributed to a delirium more contagious than the virus itself. 

Schools and universities were shut down around the nation. As a result of campus closures and online curriculums, colleges are facing catastrophic budget deficits, and millions of families are suddenly without their government-sponsored and property tax-funded babysitting service.

Global lockdowns restricted movement across the majority of cities, states, and countries around the world, and bans are still in place that limit Americans’ freedom to travel internationally.

The concept of fractional reserve banking was quietly nixed for a limitless zero percent free-for-all for the blessed few organizations with access to the Fed window. Global financial and equity markets experienced monumental volatility, with the worst losses since the Great Depression. Oil prices traded negative, and gold topped $2,000/ounce, but according to the financial wizards running the show, there’s nothing to see here folks.

Last year at this time, it was a misdemeanor crime in many states to cover your face in public, and today it is mandated and acceptable to enter a store, even a bank, with a facial covering that can be a complete disguise. While theoretically understandable, this facilitates and encourages criminal activity by allowing perpetrators to act without fear of reprisal, and the riots this summer capitalized on this convenience.

Widespread protests in cities around the country following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor catalyzed cities to defund police departments. The Black Lives Matter movement is combining the peaceful tradition and knowledge of Martin Luther King, Jr. with the wit, intellect, and passion of Malcolm X to bring about effective change. 

The use of high-tech surveillance to monitor these protests should come as no surprise to those familiar with the tactics used by the FBI to silence protestors with COINTELPRO operations, and the heavy-handed enforcement from riot police and federal agents equipped with pepper spray, tear gas, and militarized equipment is reminiscent of the 1968 riots at the Democratic National Convention.

Chicago police claim they are investigating what they describe as rogue transmissions, as live police radio from Chicago in June, while the Magnificent Mile was being looted, captured what appeared to be a law enforcement officer instructing other units to “stand down…let it burn,” with the repeated mantra of “officer safety first…blue lives matter most.” Several times, Mayor Lightfoot was referred to as “Beetlejuice” and was repeatedly called out for her decisions regarding the civil unrest. 

Angst and frustration led to never-before-seen levels of looting and rioting in shopping districts across the country. Videos abound with highlights of the absolute insanity of the situation. Billions of dollars in property damage and lost merchandise are but the tip of the iceberg, as many retail establishments will close, move, or transition to online sales in order to protect assets, and this will inevitably result in fewer jobs, lower rents, and less sales tax collected.

Commercial real estate declines, loss of sales tax revenue, and budgetary concerns will take time to manifest, but strains are already being seen. The city of Willits, Calif. is threatening to dissolve if a sales tax increase is not passed. 

If politicians are not successful securing relief to bail out cities and states that are in danger of insolvency, fiscal insufficiencies will lead to municipal bankruptcies that have the potential to devastate communities as defaults spread to pension liabilities.

All this chaos and insanity conveniently allowed the Democratic National Committee to brush aside the 2020 election campaign. It would be an interesting social experiment to have held competing rallies in cities across the country for Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden to see where the momentum and voting power really lies.  

This surreal election cycle threatens to tear the country apart, as both sides are accusing the other of cheating and rigging the election. The best that can possibly come out of such lack of civility is that the American people recognize the system for what it truly is and demand real change.

2020 is going down in history as a year of social revolution and transformation, and society has the potential to take a great leap forward if fear does not block the path.

 The opportunity is presenting itself for humanity to forge a compassionate future, but the road to freedom is not without strife, and many people find it easier to think like the Cheshire Cat and say, “I never get involved in politics,” but society is suffering from lack of interest and involvement because, as Plato warned, “The price of apathy toward public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”

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