We Are Not the Resistance

Cover of Best American Essays 2019

I picked up the Best American Essays 2019 collection to find an example of an essay in a subject area and vein that I’m interested in, publisher, essay length, and special characteristics of the presentation. I read several essays, sampled many, and assessed the rest by title.

“We are Not the Resistance” by Michelle Alexander fit my needs. Published NYT. 1500 words. I read it on my Backlit Laptop. 1% book. Location 554-621, Pages 11-15, 1500 words. This essay discusses a concept in arena I care about and have some insight into. I made her barebone argument, without sufficient context, to Mark at coffee shop.

Michelle Alexander has developed the idea in a powerful essay. She takes 500 words to lay out specific examples of situation and notables opposed to various Trump’s policies, before she introduces her insight.

After she states that we are the Revolutionary River not the Resistance, she makes more effort to muster examples that the crest of change is on the river and it has always been met by resistance (status quo). More than I would have ever have thought including.

She distills the essence of individual situations to a phrase or sentence. That is, no explanation except by placement in her discussion (she assumes her understanding of the event or action is shared and shows how it supports her thesis). In the end, she clarifies misleading distinctions.

My takeaways:

  • Do not shortcut the initial situation.
  • Use more concrete examples in my post rather than burying them in supporting posts.
  • Do explore possible interpretations of the thesis.
  • Point out explicitly the interpretation I support.

Reading Writing Craft

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