Fight for freedom in Ukraine?
Why not fight for freedom right here?
Let’s review, shall we?
It’s mid-March, 2022. Our nation is united in spirit against Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin because ... why, exactly? Because he invaded democratic Ukraine, and is not only killing civilians and destroying cities, but also committing these atrocities to take away their liberty.
Is that it? There’s no freedom of speech in Russia. We saw independent media outlets closed down at the start of the war. Peaceful protesters in Moscow hustled away by nightmare phalanxes of black-clad police. The elections keeping Putin in power are a sham. Opponents standing up to him politically can find themselves in prison, or drinking tea laced with polonium.
Americans don’t like that. Readers write, demanding a no-fly zone, basically a declaration of war by happenstance. We might as well just cut to the chase and go to war, which some readers also support.
Leading to today’s question.
Why are we eager to defend freedom in Ukraine but not at home? Why cheer on the Ukrainians as they die in the name of democracy, applaud their refusal to submit, their courage, while rolling like puppies — many of us, anyway — at the feet of Donald Trump, a weak-tea, wannabe version of Putin? Someone who has either repeatedly said or tried to do exactly what Putin does?
Sure, it might be a tentative foray, like suggesting the Federal Communications Commission sanction “Saturday Night Live” for making fun of him, or encouraging his followers to shout down entirely true reports of his countless lies with chants of “Fake News.” But the theory is the same.
At this point, certain readers send their thumbs flying to write in some version of: “Aiyee, you’re obsessed! What’s with the Trump fixation? Why are you talking about him? A distant memory of something that might have happened once in a country somewhere, perhaps our own. Move on!”
And I would reply, were I the sort of man who argues one-on-one with fanatics: The man is the clear front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. His horde of imitators grows. Since Trump lost to Joe Biden in 2020 — an undeniable historical fact still denied by his followers — he has raised $250 million, which he doles out to his fervent supporters and to elect state officials who will overturn the next election. That way, when he, or his proxy, loses, power can be seized anyway.
So, a relevant topic. I don’t intend to sit quietly until Trump is borne like a golden calf down Pennsylvania Avenue by the hosannas of his devotees — fluttering timbrels and buffing his gleaming flanks with their long hair — and deposited back into the White House on Jan. 20, 2025.
Returning to my question: Why are we supporting democracy in Ukraine but not at home? And since people willfully distort any argument directed at the fantasy they clutch, I have to emphasize: this isn’t suggesting we don’t support Ukraine. We should do all we can, including, perhaps, fighting the Russians, since we seem headed there anyway. Why wait until it’s Lithuania’s turn?
But it isn’t right to pay lip service to the heroism and resistance abroad while being in full craven surrender mode at home.
We see in Russia what a society based on lies looks like. Whose leader can invade another country and destroy it in the name of protecting it, while banning the word “war.” We see where all this “fake news” and “lock her up” leads to — real news squelched, and real opponents put into real jails and never seen again. We see it — well, some of us do. Others are curled on the bed, sucking their thumbs, whimpering “Stop telling us things ... ”
Admire the Ukrainians, yes, and help them all we can. But let’s also be inspired by their example. Let’s emulate them, and not give up our liberty so easily. We need to show some of that courage. Anytime Ted Cruz opens his mouth to piously praise Ukraine, we should ask: Where was that love of democracy when Trump sicced a mob on the Capitol? We don’t have to rush across the globe to send our sons and daughters to die in the fight for freedom in Ukraine. We have our own fight at home, an attack that must be stopped, right here, right now.