Every day I see disheartening things on the news. That’s why I mostly avoid it. And if I do watch the news in long stretches, I’ve become so desensitized to it, that much of what I see doesn’t really faze me anymore. I care about others and hate seeing people suffer. But the Russian invasion of Ukraine hits me different for some reason.
I think Russia’s invasion of Ukraine affects me, because it shocks me awake and gives me a new perspective. It’s both humbling and sad. Think about it: We’ve rarely had to truly fear the possibility of facing war on our own soil. Very rarely. Yes, the Revolution, War of 1812 and Civil War were all obviously fought here. But we’ve never been in any real danger of facing war on the homefront for over a century and a half. We have never been forced to stare down the possibility of seeing our country wiped out. That’s what every Ukrainian man, woman and child face right now as Russian forces bear down on Kiev.
While we debate, argue or flat out fight about every trivial thing under the sun, or sit on our asses and watch our daily fill of reality TV junk or Fox/CNN bullshit, every Ukranian here is worried sick about their loved ones back home. While we cannot (or more than likely choose not to) find a single common American value to rally around, every Ukranian is forced to rally around their President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy and each other. It’s all hands on deck. Join up or die. I’m just gonna say it: WE’RE SOFT! The only ones here who aren’t soft, are those who have personally looked death in the face: Cops. First responders. Medical workers during the worst of the Coronavirus pandemic, and soldiers who have seen combat.
The bravery the Ukrainian people are showing right now, is the kind of bravery we all should aspire to have, should war ever come to the United States at any point in the future. I know I likely wouldn’t survive any battle or skirmish, but I would want to fight if I could. Because I could never live down being a coward if my country ever needed me.
The worst of times bring out the best in men and women. Brothers Vitali and Vladimir Klitschko are both celebrities. World famous boxers. Now they’re armed and probably fighting the Russians as I type this. Instead of surrendering to a Russian warship, 13 guards on Snake Island chose to die for their country. Every man ages 18-60 is armed and ready, along with thousands above and below that age range, too. The entire country is mobilized. Would we see that same mobilization and patriotism here in the States if we had to fend off an invasion, or defeat a tyrannical government or some other internal force? I can only hope so!
I’m also keenly watching what Joe Biden and others are doing during this crisis. I don’t want to see us involved in another war, but part of me thinks intervention is the only way Russia is slowed down or stopped from eventually conquering Ukraine. All I know is I don’t like any endgame for what’s going on. If Russia gets their way, Ukraine is wiped off the map completely. If we intervene militarily, that could be the spark that ignites World War III, since China may help Russia if we got involved. But I know sanctioning Russia seems like it’s doing nothing. And don’t get me started on Biden, Boris Johnson, and other politicians giving speeches condemning the invasion. Politicians often talk too much and act too little on the things that really matter. Whether those matters are in wartime or peacetime.
In the meantime, I donated to NOVA Ukraine the other day. It’s a charity run by a Ukrainian man living in California, but he uses the charity to support several different causes, and has had it up since 2014. From war relief, to Coronavirus relief, to foundations supporting Ukrainian culture, NOVA Ukraine is a versatile charity. I felt I had to donate what I could, and that God was putting that on my heart. But I get incredibly frustrated when I feel like I can’t make a difference when everything going on is so far away. It makes me sad and pisses me off at the same time. “Thoughts and prayers” to me aren’t good enough though. I used to say that phrase often. But when I think about it now, to me, it’s become the equivalent of going, “Oh well. Not my problem. Gotta move on with my day.” I know many, many people who say that are well-meaning, good people who truly do care. My beef isn’t with them. The expression itself just seems hollow to me.
I am a Christian, and I believe God can and does do many wonderful things for us. But we shouldn’t look to God to fix things like what’s going on in Ukraine. We should help out our fellow human beings in whatever way we can…and those in positions of power should stop giving speeches and wagging the finger at Putin, and put serious pressure on him to back the hell off and leave the Ukrainians in peace! It isn’t God’s job to fix this. It’s ours.
Time will tell what will happen to the Ukrainian people. But I hope anyone watching what’s unfolding there is shocked awake like I am. Don’t think something like what’s going on in Ukraine could never happen here. Don’t think there won’t come a time in the future when Patriots are forced to prove themselves by putting their money where their mouth is, in the face of sinister and overwhelming evil. It can and likely will happen at some point if we aren’t careful. Evil triumphs if we do nothing.
May God be with the Ukranians who need Him the most. And may we be smart enough and compassionate enough to realize that it’s our job as human beings to fix this problem in whatever way we can, big or small.
I’ll end with a quote from Thomas Babington Macaulay:
“Then out spake brave Horatius, the Captain of the Gate: To every man upon this Earth, death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods.”