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Heroism in the Age of Crisis


Heroism in the Age of Crisis

Margaret Klein Salamon

The flood waters are still rising in Texas, swallowing up homes and whole communities. Rain is predicted to continue for days. Our hearts go out to those who have lost lives, family members, homes and possessions, including the many on this list who have been affected or are still in the storm’s path


"Rebecca Solnit writes that, in times of emergency, we remember that we are, in fact “our brother’s keeper, and that purposefulness and connectedness bring joy even amid death, chaos, fear, and loss”

Yet we never seem to remember that when the photos are of people fleeing disasters in Yemen, Syria, Iraq,
Africa, Afghanistan, etc.
The ‘refugees’ in Texas look exactly the same to me but then, the others have nothing to do with us, right? They’ll manage fine on their own in the hurricane of bombs, bullets and missiles. Probably have shelters all over the place waiting to help them.


Boats in the water seems to happen spontaneously sometimes; people being willing to help their metaphorical neighbors is a natural impulse except when stifled by invasive or neglectful childhoods and lives.

The rescue boats at Dunkirk didn’t happen spontaneously, they were a response to an appeal by the Churchill government. And in the absence of action by the corporate duopoly that rules the US, despite the phenomenal actions by individuals, cities, states and regions (RGGI) and national and international actions and resistance. Without an end to the funding of the fossil fuel and denial industries, and action by the US government (and the UK, Australia, and Russia, the other places where denial rules) we’re likely to fail. The center of denial is the US, however; once it’s cut off from funding it will fold in the other places with reasonable pressure. (Russia can’t exist in isolation as a petrodictatorship.) We can’t wait 3 more years to change the power structures in the US; we have to stop counting on electoral processes alone and peacefully revolt now.

As important as health care for all, a living wage, stopping corruption and racism, and other social advances are, we need to make the call to avoid climate catastrophe the main reason for the revolt. Alliances and unity are crucial, (and those advances will be immensely easier to pass once the power of the duopoly is broken) but only climate catastrophe has a hard deadline and will motivate enough people enough to do what we need to do now–begin the climate mobilization and change the course of civilization over the next 8 years.