PART ONE – WHY THE CAUSE?
A few weeks ago, I wore a tie for the first time in several years because I had the privilege of advocating before elected U.S. Senators and Congresspeople’s offices and staffs for a cause I cared deeply about.
The cause was to convince U.S. Congresspeople and Senators about the continued need for the U.S. to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom from Russia.
Razom Ukraine (Together for Ukraine) made this event possible. They are a wonderful U.S.-based organization that began after Russia’s full invasion in 2022 and has accomplished some amazing things for Ukraine.
Advocates from around the nation were invited to the nation’s capital to help advocate on behalf of Ukraine. I was honored to be included. While there, I met many other Ukrainian-Americans and non-Ukrainian Americans who shared my view. It was heartening.
On the surface, supporting Ukraine seems like a no-brainer for the United States. But this is 2023, and big money is at stake. Common sense and bipartisan support of anything is rare in D.C. these days. It’s also apparent that Russian propaganda is having an impact, in particular, on one specific segment of the U.S. population, which bizarrely used to be counted on to be rah-rah USA! USA! USA! It now seems more to be Putin! Putin! Putin!
It’s disorienting. But these still are the minority of Americans. And there is much debate, at least in my mind, about the reality of these opinions. Do they think these thoughts, or do they think they think these thoughts? How many people are somehow angry at Ukraine because Donald Trump tried to blackmail their president in exchange for political dirt (Quid Pro Quo), which led to his first impeachment inquiry? Talk about victim blaming.
Despite the rhetoric to the contrary, much of it fueled by Russian propaganda and the mainstream and alternative media’s sometimes unwitting and sometimes purposeful (X/Twitter in particular) cooperation, Razom’s polling shows that most Americans still support standing with Ukraine, as you can see HERE.
But Russia, with their troll farms has a patient understanding of America’s bird-like attention on all things shiny and new.
So, let’s dig deeper and explore why the U.S. should continue to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom.
There are two main categories of motivation: Moral and strategic. Let’s delve into each.
1) REASON #1 – MORAL
1.1) CIVILIAN DEATHS: From a moral perspective, over 10,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed (murdered) so far, between 500-1,000 of them are children. Compare this to Russian civilian deaths, which are zero. Notably, Russia invaded Ukraine simply for not being a Russian puppet state (much as it tried to do in Georgia in 2008).
As per their Modus Operandi, Russia consistently commits war crimes and terrorism by targeting schools, hospitals, maternity wards, and daycare centers where civilians are located. There are no military personnel or terrorists (or Nazis) hiding amongst civilians.
Ukraine is huge and spread out. When a hospital or playground is hit, it is either on purpose or through willful disregard for civilian life, which is consistent with Russia’s operations in previous wars. Helping Ukraine defend her civilians may be the most clear-cut example of right vs. wrong I can cite in recent history.
1.2) IT’S NOT NATO, IT’S GENOCIDE: NATO expansion is just one of many shifting transparent false-flag pretexts Putin has used for his latest aggression. But the effort by Russia to exterminate Ukrainian culture is several hundred years old and far predates the formation of NATO. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, and Ukraine’s independence in 1991 Russia has consistently tried to control Ukraine. You don’t need to be a geopolitical expert to understand bullying and control.
This ARTICLE from Paul Grod is well worth the six minutes to read. It succinctly and accurately demonstrates that Russia does not believe Ukraine and, thus, Ukrainians even have a “right to exist,” hitting all the five factors consistent with the definition of genocide. Soviet Russia’s Holodomor (government-sponsored famine) against Ukraine during World War II killed almost as many Ukrainians as the Nazi Holocaust.
1.3) KIDNAPPINGS: Additionally, 20,000-30,000 Ukrainian children have been kidnapped and taken from their families in Ukraine to Russia and are actively being “re-educated” to hate their homeland. This, of course, is also a war crime.
1.4) PHYSICAL WOUNDS: Millions more, children and adults, of course, have been wounded, displaced, and traumatized. There are more amputees in Ukraine than all of World War I already!
1.5) LAND MINES: The Russians have mined over 30% of Ukraine’s rich farmland, which the world depends on. Estimates are that it could take seven centuries for the mines to be removed. Of course, this means Ukraine will have even more deaths and amputees in the years to come.
1.6) TRAUMA: Millions of children and adults have undergone extensive post-traumatic stress and trauma that will take decades to heal.
1.7) FATIGUE & ATTRITION: Russia can afford to be more patient; their soldiers are primarily the uneducated poor and are used as cannon fodder. Despite this fact, Russians say they overwhelmingly support Putin and war (75-85%).
However, the democratic West cannot afford to be impatient.
While Russia uses its poor and imprisoned in its war of attrition, Ukraine is forced to defend itself carefully, with a mix of volunteers and professional soldiers. They don’t have the raw population numbers Russia has, and more crucially, as in the U.S., every life is precious to Ukraine.
Despite scenes of normalcy, not one Ukrainian is unimpacted by this war, with relatives in harm’s way constantly.
If you are tired of this war, imagine how tired a Ukrainian must be.
1.8) WAR CRIMES: While Russians continually target civilian hospitals, daycare centers, and restaurants full of journalists and NGOs, fire upon volunteers, practice eco-terrorism (i.e., the Kakhovka Dam travesty), and threaten nuclear terror at every turn, Ukrainian soldiers, many of them injured and amputees, return to the front to fight for liberty and values that are shared by the rest of the civilized world, especially the United States.
1.9) BUDAPEST MEMORANDUM: The 1994 Budapest Memorandum explicitly guaranteed Ukraine’s protection in exchange for their giving up their nuclear weapons, weapons that, if they currently had, would most certainly mean Russia would never have invaded. Our allies need to know we live up to our commitments.
SO…. WHAT IS YOUR MORAL COMPASS? Whether you claim Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, pro-life, pacifism, or claim to have a basic “good” moral compass, any stance other than supporting Ukraine would be impossible to justify.
HALL OF SHAME: Yet, every day, I see posts and comments by people claiming these very same religions and philosophies, openly disparaging Ukraine and supporting Putin.
Elected officials like Congressman Rand Paul of Kentucky was joined by a who’s who of deplorable politicians like Marsha (“Big Pharma Marsha”) Blackburn (TN) and America’s dumbest Senator, (Coach) Tommy Tuberville (AL).
or Troy Nehis of Texas who seems to pleasure in any of Ukraine’s setbacks.
Tech Billionaire Elon Musk has tweeted inane “peace” plans that show a complete lack of understanding of the situation, and he’s even sent out horrific “tweets” making fun of Ukrainian leaders during their darkest hour and heroic fight for freedom.
There are many more politicians, of course. But there are also “musicians” and “entertainers.”
Like rabbit hole, Qanon-inspired “musician” Aaron Lewis of the early aughts rock band “Staind” (Kind of like Nickelback with ½ the talent) who says we should “listen to what Putin has to say,” all within the cushy confines of the country he claims to love so much yet, deep down, seems to hate. Why?
Just asking questions. I have a few potential answers.
Perhaps these folks are self-hating and know they could never stand the bravery and courage exhibited by the Ukrainian people. Or maybe they are genuinely compromised assets of Putin.
SHAME ON SOME REGULAR AMERICANS TOO:
Upon my return from Ukraine this summer, I had someone at my mother’s church ask me which side I was on, delivered with an accompanying self-satisfied snicker and guffaw. War, murdered children, genocide… other’s misery… funny stuff. The Christian sense of humor has changed alot since I was a child.
I never expected or wanted a parade or a bed of roses at my feet for simply going to Ukraine during a war, but I didn’t expect this bit of thinly veiled mocking disdain for risking my safety to do something I still consider worthy.
Maybe an encouraging word? Or pass around a collection plate some Sunday to help some of our humanitarian causes there?
Is it because Ukrainians worship differently than many in the U.S.? Are Israeli children worthy to live but Ukraine children deserve to die? Or for that matter Palestinian children?
Instead it seems SOME Evangelicals for some bizarre political agenda have been programmed to admire the authoritarian leader of a country where almost no one believes in the afterlife and religious freedom is a sham.
This is more than demoralizing to me; it is a stain on the memory of those who gave their all for freedom and democracy, not just in Ukraine but across the world, including some from my home state of Tennessee who died fighting for Ukraine’s freedom, including freedom of religion.
2) REASON #2 – STRATEGIC
2.1) UKRAINE’S FIGHT IS OUR FIGHT: From a strategic perspective, it feels like a no-brainer. For less than 5% of the total defense budget, the U.S. can weaken a powerful terrorist foe without firing a single shoot or risking a single American soldier.
In the process, victory will send the message to other would-be invaders, such as China, that international rules and laws since World War II still stand… and the world will be much safer for future generations.
2.2) PREVENTING WORLD WAR III: If, like me and 99% of the Ukrainian people, you are a peacenik, then you understand that defeating Russia is the best way to ensure that World War III does not occur. If Putin wins, the likelihood of a multi-national engagement spinning out of control is high.
Putin is taking a page out of Hitler’s playbook and has demonstrated not only can he not be trusted but that he aspires to reassemble the old Soviet Union under imperialistic Russia. If you don’t understand why this is bad for the world, not just that region, you should read more history. RECOMMENDED READING (Any book from Timothy Schnyder, but particularly Bloodlands).
And again, it’s not just Putin; it’s also the remaining Russian people who have been programmed for decades to be imperialists, with some 75-85% of them openly supporting Putin’s invasion, some of whom have family members in Ukraine.
One Russian woman recently interviewed stated she supported Russia’s victory in this war because she feared for her pension if Ukraine won and Russia was forced to pay reparations. You can’t reason with such selfishness.
Like German society after World War II, Russian society must be de-programmed entirely before it can move on to join the civilized world.
SO, WHY DO I HAVE TO TYPE SUCH BASIC RATIONALE? Usually, I would not have to explain fundamental American values to Americans, but these are different times.
As you can see, we have apologists and supporters for Putin in our government, media, and various high-profile positions across the U.S. Their numbers are growing, and they are clamoring for more power.
It is not a proud moment in American history or politics. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE: Quick… call the arsonist to put it out!
I’ve visited DC before but never the Capital grounds, and it brought back memories of 1/6/21…. remember? After over 200 years of free and fair elections and a peaceful transfer of power, one losing president decided to try to overturn the election and instigate a coup like something out of a movie about a banana republic dictator in the 1960s.
When I visited DC, the US House of Representatives was once again in chaos, but of a more peaceful sort. The Republican Controlled House couldn’t agree on a speaker to replace Kevin McCarthy.
As I overheard in one of the GOP Senator’s offices, Ex-President Donald J. Trump was behind the scenes lobbying for his pick. As you know, he’s been trying to ensure that Ukraine didn’t continue to get funding.
Is he simply stoking chaos to further his political comeback and distract from his myriad of genuine legal issues? January 6, 2021, in my humble opinion, gave the green light to Putin to invade after he witnessed the extent of our division.
Asking Trump his opinion on political matters like these is like asking an arsonist to put out the raging, out-of-control fire the arsonist started.
But as I said, common sense is in short supply these days.
RUSSIA = TERRORISM: Now that Israel and Hamas are fighting a brutal war, one that is more compactly brutal but also more nuanced than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the headlines were all on the Israeli / Palestine continuing conflict.
Israel, which on October 7th, 2023, suffered a shocking and brutal terrorist attack and failure by the Netanyahu government at the hands of the terrorist organization Hamas, is now bombarding Hamas targets but, in the process, has also killed thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians (over 4,000 Palestinian children have been killed at the time of this writing) in the name of “defending Israel.”
It bears repeating that while defending itself from Russian terrorism, Ukraine has killed ZERO Russian children or civilians.
See the difference here?
How can any politician justify supporting Israel (someone the US has supported since its formation) without supporting Ukraine? Freedom for Israel but not for Ukraine? It makes no sense… again, common sense is lacking.
After the October 7th Hamas terrorist attack in Israel, Putin had recently met with Hamas representatives in Moscow and for several days refused to denounce the Hamas Terrorism attack. Terrorists tend to stick together. Iran = Hamas, and Iran = Russia.
Again, why on earth would either of our political parties do anything other than support Ukraine?
IT’S THE EXTREMES WHO DON’T GET IT: Following the “left” vs. “right” narrative reluctantly here, let’s break it down.
- EXTREME LEFT: Representatives of the far left naively think that negotiating with Russia is the quickest way to peace when, in fact, it just ensures more chaos and misery. Why reward Russia for its invasion and numerous war crimes? It also would allow Putin to rebuild his forces, encourage China to invade Taiwan, and encourage terrorist organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah, or ISIS.
- EXTREME RIGHT: Representatives from the far right? I don’t know what motivates them, but it isn’t American values of freedom and democracy. They are bizarrely amplifying Putin’s propaganda, and some seem to indicate that an Israeli child’s life is worth more than a Ukrainian child’s life.
WHAT I THINK: We are divided, but we can be united and be proud of our solidarity on this issue. We are the USA. We are not weak. We are not poor. Our economy has fared much better post covid than most prosperous nations.
We can walk and chew gum at the same time and help Israel fight Hamas terrorists and promote Palestine to become a terrorist-free, non-apartheid, free state while helping Ukraine defeat peace’s biggest enemy and the root cause of much of this and other chaos in the world, Putin.
TOO MUCH MONEY? The USA is the wealthiest economy in the world, with the world’s most powerful military. Do you know that if just the top 1% of people and corporations paid their outstanding taxes, we’d have more than 3x the amount of money to support Ukraine and Israel, with plenty left over to secure the Southern Border (which, for some reason, scares those on the extreme right more than Putin or Hamas)? We’d even have money left over for domestic priorities. Imagine that.
Do you realize how much more expensive it will be if Putin is not defeated now?
HISTORY: History has proven time and again that isolation doesn’t work, and even the not-so-well-read, anti-intellectual, extreme right-wing politicians likely know this. But they are being influenced, if not by Putin directly, then by someone whom Putin is influencing, and it’s scary to witness such apparent ignorance followed by such tangible apathy on my social media pages.
People who were all fired up to support Ukraine just 18 months ago now glibly look away and pretend this all is not happening or does not / will not affect them.
When given a chance to show even moral support, so many no longer can afford a like, a share, a comment, or even a word of encouragement. It is disheartening, demoralizing, and sad, but it will not stop me, and more importantly, it will not stop Ukraine.
A good journalist should not stop reporting on a travesty because their audience has stopped paying attention but should only stop reporting when the travesty has stopped.
PART TWO – WHY ME?
I’ve visited Ukraine five times since 2012. I’ve witnessed first-hand the country’s evolution and its people as it fights for freedom. It inspired me mightily pre-full-invasion, and it inspires me even more now. Witnessing Ukraine fight for its freedom has made me appreciate more the freedom, prosperity, and privileges I inherited through the mere luck of geography.
My travels have included a trip to Russia in 2010 (before becoming a travel journalist, yet I was still followed and harassed by the FSB) and making many Russian friends, both in the US and in Russia.
My travels have also included a trip to Russian-occupied Ossetia in the country of Georgia, which I shared in Raw Travel’s Episode 805, Tbilisi, Georgia (Trailer HERE)
When I visited Ukraine in 2012, a Russian puppet, Viktor Yanukovych, was president, and Ukraine was little more than a satellite state for Russia.
But when visiting Ukraine twice in 2019, years after the 2014 Maidan Revolution (Revolution of Dignity) that kicked Yanukovych from power, I began to grasp more essential facts regarding Russia’s imperialistic relationship with Ukraine. I could tangibly feel the difference in people’s attitudes from my 2012 visit. They were optimistic, and I could feel it.
On that same visit in 2019, I met a young lady who would become part of the Raw Travel crew, videographer Anastasia Zui. I heard her family’s story of having to leave their home in Donbas behind to relocate to Kyiv because of Russia’s 2014 invasion. Things began to fall into place even further.
Since then, of course, I’ve had numerous conversations with Ukrainians, read dozens of books, watched dozens of documentaries, and had more opportunities to learn about Russia’s long history of attempting to eliminate Ukrainian culture, language, and more through efforts like the horrific Holodomor in the 1930s which starved millions to death.
When I visited Chernobyl in 2019, I remember thinking how hamfisted and careless Russia had been in the aftermath of that tragedy. Had the disaster occurred closer to Moscow, I’m sure the response would have differed greatly.
Then, of course, post-full invasion, in 2022, I visited Western Ukraine, and most recently, in the summer of 2023, I spent a month in Eastern and Southern Ukraine.
During this process, I’ve made dozens of relationships with Ukrainian musicians, artists, everyday folks, countless Ukrainian diaspora and refugees in the US, and volunteers worldwide.
When one visits a place, connects with people, it’s impossible, at least for me, to look away, to disengage, to pretend nothing is happening.
When the offer came through from Razom, Ukraine (Together Ukraine) to advocate to U.S. Senators and Congresspeople in Washington DC, I thought, if not me, who? If not now, when?
Sometimes, I am a reluctant player, but I try to step up when called. In this case, the call came through loud and clear.
PART 3 – WHY THE TIE?
Washington, DC, is a conservative place full of people with agendas. I had to dress the part or risk not being taken seriously. So, though I hadn’t worn a tie in decades when I arrived at DC’s Grand Central Station, I stopped by the “Tie Store” and picked up a too-expensive tie that I knew I’d likely only wear once. I chose a conservative blue that would go with almost any outfit.
On the first day of meetings, Razom had group training for advocates so that newbies like me could understand what to expect and outline our priorities.
Five minutes into the meeting, I saw the tip of my tie dipped into my coffee. It would now be a two-tone blue.
CITY RAT OR COUNTRY MOUSE?
Even though I live in New York City, I have farmland and am originally from Tennessee. I have listed it as a secondary location for my business and I pay taxes there as well.
So I decided to make the most of my time by spending time with the Tennessee delegation, as they had the most difficult ground and fewer people to cover it.
CONGRESSMAN TIM BURCHETT OF TENNESSEE: Our first meeting was with Congressman Tim Burchett’s office of the 2nd District of Tennessee. My team of four delegates (two Ukrainian-American scientists, a German-American scientist, and me, the dumb one) extensively practiced what we’d say before the meeting. I hate being over-prepared and encouraging my new brothers and sisters-in-arms not to sound too rehearsed. I need not have worried because Mr. Burchett didn’t even grace us with his presence.
However, his Senior Legislative Assistant, John Stout, did give us about ½ an hour. Although Congressman Burchett, like many of his MAGA-inspired associates, has not been very supportive of Ukraine, there have been glimmers of support, suggesting that he perhaps personally understands the incredible scope of the situation but doesn’t quite have the political will, backbone, or ethics to get there.
To help get him over the hump, I offered Mr. Burchett an all-expense paid trip to Ukraine that Raw Travel would film. This could be invaluable footage for his re-election campaign efforts.
As we’ve seen with Trump’s claim to be able to end the war within 24 hours (and who has, to my knowledge, never visited Ukraine, much less an active war zone), it’s easy to make bold, arrogant, but ultimately ignorant proclamations while thousands of miles away and swaddled in the safety and security that others paid the ultimate price for. I’m allowing Mr. Burchett to address this deficiency in his knowledge with a FREE, all-expense paid trip to Ukraine and filming thrown in for gratis, too.
We shall see if Mr. Burchett takes me up on it. If he does, I promise to be fair in my assessment, and he will have gained an admirer regardless of our political or policy differences.
CONGRESSMAN JERROLD NADLER OF NEW YORK: The next day, I switched back to the New York delegation to tag along with the appointment at Mr. Jerrold Nadler’s office, representing the 12th district of New York. Meeting with Congressman Nadler was much like preaching to the choir, as he’s a big supporter of Ukraine.
Congressman Nadler came in briefly to meet us and take a photograph but had to get back to the floor quickly as this was the day that Tom Emmer, the latest GOP candidate for Speaker of the House, was to get his vote, and Nadler was on the Democratic committee to choose the Speaker. I hope I got that right, but that’s the general idea.
Of course, it was all a moot point as Mr. Emmer, a moderate (still a few of those left, apparently), never was seriously considered as Trump, the great insurrectionist and Putin-admirer, spiked his candidacy.
We finished meeting with Andrew Heineman, Nadler’s Legislative Director, who offered some words of encouragement that U.S. assistance would continue regardless of who was elected speaker. I hope he is right because I have no faith that any MAGA politician is good for anything but sowing division. It’s clear that Russian trolls and bots are amplifying Russian propaganda on outlets such as X/Twitter, and some credulous Americans are lapping it up.
SENATOR MARSHA BLACKBURN OF TENNESSEE: After the Nadler meeting, I returned to the Tennessee delegation for a meeting with Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee with a team of Ukrainian constituents.
I have followed Miss Blackburn’s career for a bit, with mixed reviews. She’s full of fiery demagoguery on her X/Twitter feed and newsletters. She seems to have trouble telling right from wrong when the NRA, Big Pharma, or another lobbying group with lots of money and influence comes a calling.
And when it comes to Ukraine, she had voted against funding.
Still, the Ukrainian delegation seemed to want to believe she could be convinced to do the right thing. They were encouraged by the fact that she had supported a bill demanding the return of the approximately 20,000 to 30,000 Ukrainian children kidnapped by Russia.
Yay…? I guess? We now live in a world where denouncing the war crime of kidnapping children is considered a bold political stance. It’s surreal. But I was not going to rain on these people’s parade. This was their moment to try to impact democracy in their adopted country. They still believed in it, and I, as a result, also believed.
Miss Blackburn and her hair swept in briefly like a Miss County Fair Pageant Winner to thank the judges. She seemed nonplussed by the fact that I, a non-Ukrainian from Tennessee, was in the meeting with about ten other Ukrainian-Americans. She looked at me as if I weren’t there, but I didn’t take it personally. They meet with dozens of constituents daily on a variety of topics.
Nevertheless, I did my best to explain that I’d witnessed firsthand how U.S. aid had saved both soldier and civilian lives in Ukraine, including very possibly my own when I was there. I tried to appeal to Miss Blackburn’s emotional side by speaking of the high number of amputees in Ukraine and the dead, displaced, wounded, and traumatized children.
Like Mr. Nadler, after a photo, Ms. Blackburn exited, but not before commenting on the following:
- “Vladimir Putin cannot win.” (encouraging)
- She had visited Ukraine (also encouraging)
- Like Burchett’s aid, John Stout, she mumbled about how she favored funding Ukraine but needed to ensure the money was spent where it was meant.
This so called “check on corruption” is common refrain from the GOP is, in my opinion, a well-rehearsed false flag. There has been investigation after investigation at the insistence of many, and thus far, there has been zero evidence of ANY large-scale corruption. Several checks and balances are already in place to ensure this continues, including the Inspector General Report, which you can read HERE.
We continued the meeting with her young Legislative Assistant, Mr. Brendan Scheimreif, who seemed to understand the issues well and was likable. I was to find that Mr. Scheimreif was a military veteran, which seemed a hopeful sign that at least he understood the stakes.
At one point, I had to come to Mr. Schmeireif’s rescue as one Kentucky advocate seemed on a mission to demonstrate that U.S. support was not only 1) inadequate and 2) completely unappreciated. She seemed to blame President Biden for former President Trump’s lack of Ukraine support. Huh?!
Her misplaced vigor was unhelpful.
She had pulled research the night before on the internet, citing articles by such non-credible news organizations as Newsweek and the New York Post (and these were her more mainstream sources).
I understand the emotion and personal context of the Ukrainian diaspora is different from mine. I tend to cut a lot of slack to anyone for this very reason (I never tell a hungry person what they should or should not eat, and I don’t tell a Ukrainian how they should feel; it’s simply not my place).
However, after she kept pulling the group off message for 20 minutes and browbeating Mr. Scheimreif about Lend-lease, something that is only applicable to the President, I tried to steer the meeting back to Senator Blackburn voting for the current bill that had been approved by the previous speaker, Kevin McCarthy, to continue support for Ukraine.
Mr. Scheimreif stated that Ms. Blackburn supports Ukraine but would like to separate Israel and Ukraine support to make things “simpler.”
While it sounds encouraging that Senator Blackburn would like to support Ukraine, the reasoning for splitting it from the Israel aid package because it’s “simpler” didn’t resonate with me. It sounds a bit like another red herring of an excuse for not supporting Ukraine from the GOP. I hope I’m wrong.
Like Mr. Burchett, I offered Ms. Blackburn a free, all-expense paid trip (assuming that’s all above-board and legal) with the Raw Travel film crew to return to Ukraine. Again, we’ll see if anyone gets back to me.
For most of my life, I thought I was A-Political. I did not understand that simply living on this earth is a political act, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. Inaction is a type of action, tacit approval of the status quo. NO ONE is unaffected by politics, NO ONE.
I still do not particularly like or enjoy organized politics. Who could, with its naked ambition for power and money? But I understand its necessity much better. Whether we choose to act or not, we are actively participating in how our world is run. Choose to do nothing; that is a vote for the status quo.
Yet, I cannot stand politicizing people’s misery, but I will not stand by and do nothing while people I love and admire are suffering.
Alas, after all the unjust wars the US has stoked or meddled in Central and South America, Asia, and the Middle East, resulting in so many innocent dead, suddenly the hawks are now peaceniks? It rings hollow. Something’s up. Something’s not right.
I’ve visited too many authoritarian-run tyrannical countries in my travels not to fight for freedom for every living soul, especially those so committed to keeping theirs as Ukrainians are.
Having tasted freedom in the past 30 years, Ukrainians are not keen to go back to Russia’s backward thugocracy of oppression and tyranny. Who could blame them? Once a mind has expanded, it never returns to its original shape. It cannot.
This is one reason I love travel and new experiences.
I even enjoyed this new experience in our political process in DC. I’d never advocated to politicians before. I have no idea if it was effective. But I would have kicked myself had I not taken advantage of the opportunity to try to help my pals in Ukraine remain free, suffer less, and become victorious.
I want US citizens to understand our unique place in the world. We are the wealthiest economy in the world mainly because of decisions made during and after World War II.
With rare exceptions, few of us have earned this relative period of peace and prosperity we and our loved ones enjoy. Great power begets great responsibility; if we abdicate that responsibility, we must be prepared to relinquish our peace and prosperity.
We are at an inflection point; the next few decades can be painful or hopeful. It is entirely up to us. If we make the right, common sense calls, we can ensure decades of peace and prosperity and go from a dystopian, miserable outlook to hope and optimism.
Like a good trip abroad to a new place, the advocacy in DC experience made me a better human. Indeed, I am now more knowledgeable about our political process and democratic ideals in general. I appreciate hard-working civil servants even more. They have my support.
And like any good trip, I met some fantastic people at the Ukraine Action Summit, whom I hope to remain in touch with.
So, this, my friends, is why I wore a tie for the first time in decades.
WANT TO HELP? IT’S FREE!
Please take 30 seconds to click the link HERE to tell your local congressperson or senator to continue to support Ukraine. It costs nothing (remember – we have the money allocated already) and is perhaps the most powerful thing you can do to help Ukraine and promote world peace for years to come.
Here are the resolutions we were/are advocating:
- H. Res. 149 “Forced Transfer of Children”
- H. Res. 154 “Genocide Resolution”
- H. Res. 332 “Ukraine Victory Resolution”
- H. Res. 4175 “Rebuilding Economic Prosperity for Ukrainians (REPO) Act”
Thank you for reading. Slava Ukraini!