We Did Not Survive Worse. We Should Not Survive This.

Stop saying “we” will survive this.

Stop saying “we” survived Hitler. Six million of us didn’t.

Stop saying “we” survived Nixon. One point seven million of us didn’t.

Stop saying “we” survived Reagan. More than 20,000 of us didn’t.

Stop saying “we” survived Bush. Stop saying “we” survived the Civil War. Stop saying “we” survived anything.

Maybe you mean to comfort. You probably do.


We don’t get better by surviving things.

I know that’s mean to say, because you have a whole story in your head constructed about how what you went through tempered you and made you into steel, about the lessons you learned and the things you became in your moments of extremity. You have a thousand bumper stickers about killing, about making stronger. You have a dozen mantras and you’re repeating them because you want to believe them. I know that’s mean, but it’s true.

This country, this WORLD, doesn’t get better because people survive things.

It gets better because people are willing to put their survival at risk.

It got better because of Abraham Lincoln.

It got better because of Martin Luther King.

It got better because of everyone who stormed the beaches at Normandy and every man and woman who protested at Kent State. It got better because of the Freedom Riders. It got better because of the pamphleteers. It got better because of everyone at Stonewall and everyone at Seneca Falls, every march on Washington saying shove your war.

Women got the vote in no small part because Alice Paul starved herself in prison to ask rights of a Democratic president. Because Susan B. Anthony was beaten in the street. Because Ida B. Wells lived under daily threat of lynching. Those people didn’t “survive” something. That wasn’t their goal.

And a lot of them didn’t survive. A lot of them threw their bodies on the wheels and gave everything they had to stop what was happening.

America didn’t survive their losses. America is America because of their losses. Because of their sacrifices. Because of their heroism.

Don’t say “we” will survive this. “We” might not. Not all of us.

Say we, all of us, will fight this.

That, we can promise. That, we can stand behind. That, we can do.


10 thoughts on “We Did Not Survive Worse. We Should Not Survive This.

  1. In the dark midnight horror after I turned off lights and television, I thought about this very thing. We are old and white – others like us are talking about “sitting it out”. But Trump could kill Social Security and our military retirement check. Likely then we starve and lose our paid for house for taxes. But that is a distant thunder, you see? The lightning in my brain right now said “Stand up, don’t shut up – be beaten in the streets, go to jail, die fighting.” What I fear most? It won’t matter if I do — unless the utter worst happens, because we have a corporate owned press that won’t report minor deaths. Every sci-fi dystopia is now at our door and we are the red shirts. The brown coats, the expendable. I don’t kneel to a tyrant-ideal if god; I can’t kneel to what Trump threatens my country with, either.

  2. Athenae, thank you for being you, for being the catalyst that reminds me of my better demons.
    We’ll do better than merely survive.
    We will persevere. Some will fall and they will be mourned and remembered, but we will persevere.
    Like I said last night, 2020 is now our goal, from local to state and federal offices. It’s a census year, so we have an opportunity to change this country for the better (eg, direct election of the president, federally-overseen remapping of congressional districts that make sense and are competitive, etc). I don’t think we would be in a position to do that if Hillary had carried the night/Florida+Wisconsin+NC.
    We as a country will rise above the racist, misogynistic, ugly tendencies of our forebears to great heights. Not because it is easy or a given, but because it is hard (and is the right thing to do).

    1. Agreed–but we should look to 2018 first, to at least try to make some headway. It won’t be easy, of course, but as you said, it is hard, and is the right thing to do.

  3. I so agree with you. We (America) won’t get better until we tear down the foundation it has been built on in order, to heal and start anew. Thank you for such a beautiful and heart felt post. We will learn to deal as we have in the past but really what good is that. Only to be potentially faced with the same thing or a similar situation in another 4 years.

  4. let’s talk about how this happened. It happened because we nominated the consummate insider in a change election. We somehow thought Hillary Clinton’s generation worth of baggage (earned or not) wouldn’t matter. More, we thought the rubes forgot that her husband wrecked their middle class lives with NAFTA. I say we, but I mean YOU. Some of us tried to warn you. Some of us provided an alternative who would have taken the same economic insecurity and turned it to Progressive purpose. Everyone who spilled ink making fun of Sanders supporters and just anyone who pointed out Clinton’s manifold deficiencies as a candidate needs to turn in their “expert” card. The line forms behind John Podesta.

  5. Beautiful. Thank you A.

    Any Dem who blames Hillary for this loss wasn’t paying attention. That’s some serious internalized and unexamined misogyny right there; all provided and absorbed thanks to 25+ years of the Republican party’s noise machine. And if they seriously think that Bernie could have beat Trump, they haven’t been watching or learned a thing. Those who voted for Trump would never vote for a Socialist Jewish man.

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