Survival of the Fittest – The Trump Years


When next you hear someone claiming that "We will survive" or "I will survive" the Trump years because others have survived worse in the past consider this: 'we' certainly will survive but 'we' won't all make it to the other side. 

Here's how I know......

1. Thirty years ago, there was the piss poor HIV/AIDS response, and still we survived
HIV positive people survived Ronald Reagan's cavalier attitude to the early appearance of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Reagan himself is said to have laughed off the growing crisis and Mrs. Reagan turned her back on longtime friend Rock Hudson when he was diagnosed.

St. Ronnie and his administration laughed off the crisis, kinda like the President-elect laughs off climate change. The world was slow to recognize the gravity of the situation (then as now) or to begin working on treatment and prevention protocols. The greater 'we' certainly survived, but we haven't all made to the other side have we? The AIDS quilt is proof of that fact.

 Flint's water is still not safe for drinking as of the writing of this article.
Flint's water is still not safe for drinking as of the writing of this article.

2. Thirty years later, there's Flint & Standing Rock, and we will yet survive
In Flint, as in Standing Rock, calls for a potable water supply have been shrugged off. In Flint, early alarms raised by pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Atisha were shrugged off as "data" (which apparently is a bad thing). It was more than twelve months before anything like an admission was forthcoming from the powers that be. That probably explains why there are now public officers facing felony charges.

Ultimately, the greater 'we' will survive the Flint crisis, but the children of Flint will not survive unharmed. Lead poisoning has lifetime consequences and we can be assured that they won't get the financial, emotional and/or educational support they will need. 

Thirty years from now, Flint's children will be struggling to find their way, Governor Snyder will be long gone, and we will all have conveniently forgotten what malfeasance and classist + racist Republican politics visited upon them.

So yes....
The greater 'we' will survive, but some of us won't make it to the other side: lives will be shortened, prospects will be dimmed or lost, families will be destroyed. 

We are entering an era of conservatism. Remember where the last one left us? 'Compassionate conservatism' my ass. There's an ox and a moron (oxymoron) if ever I heard one!

Did Black folk survive Jim Crow and slavery? Yes they did, but ask the good people at EJI (Equal Justice Initiative) how many people were murdered by mobs. How many lynching sites are they now trying to recognize? How many victims are they trying to remember and recognize? How many Neil deGrasse Tysons did we lose? How many Hadiyah-Nicole Greens?

 Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears

Did Jews survive the Holocaust? Yes, they did, but ask any Jewish friend how many of their relatives didn't make it. How many Elie Wiesels did we lose? How many Anne Franks?

Did Native Americans survive the Trail of Tears? Yes indeed, but talk to an elder about the stories of loss. How many Joe Medicine Crows did we lose? How many Elouise Cobbells?

When we say "We will survive" we're also saying that a survival of the fittest approach is acceptable. It isn't; we're saying that entirely preventable human losses are acceptable. They aren't. 

Preventable losses are a criminal waste of human potential. We're in a compassionately conservative time. Brace yourself. This version of 'compassion' will leave some of us dead. We will not all make it. Sorry to be the harbinger of those sad tidings.

About the Author - Elle Sagar

 Elle Sagar
Elle Sagar

I am a strategic thinker and problem solver. I have a knack for seeing the heart of an issue, clearing away all the noise and nonsense and hopefully making cogent arguments that go to the central issue under consideration. Nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you try. That's a lyric from an Ella Fitzgerald song and from the songbook of my life.

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