Sadness is upon our land. It is not clear, but there is an eeriness about it. We want to help Ukraine—and we are helping with good and not-so-good weapons, ongoing humanitarian efforts, and aid in many forms. We will avoid aggressive confrontation with Russia, fearing nuclear or chemical warfare in Europe, perhaps beyond. Yet there is restlessness among Americans as we watch the destruction of human life and their land. As of this writing, Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, is surrounded.
I can’t sleep at night because I see images of bodies bulldozed into ditches. These images are too reminiscent of when Hitler’s “atrocities” were performed as we stood by as a nation, inactive, until Pearl Harbor. (My facts may not be exact, but the gist of the matter is correct.)
In a long-ago research project, I searched newspaper headlines and critical articles written on the date of my birthday. I was born in August 1943. There was not one article on the front page of my hometown paper, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, nor The New York Times on the war in Europe. I found a brief half-column article on Hitler’s suspicious activity regarding discrimination against “ethnic types,” not defined, buried in the second section of The New York Times. Roosevelt sent planes via Canada, but we wanted nothing to do with their war.
Today, we watch the Ukraine war unfold hour-by-hour. I never thought I’d witness the slaughter of people in a fight à la WWII in which the United States didn’t do more. Yet we are cautious to protect what and whom? I understand the hesitancy. I do. It is unfathomable to me that with all our power, intelligence, and willingness to help, we are not creative enough to provide a solution to stop this horrific carnage. Naively, I always thought that our United States, our homeland, was supposed to protect the weak, the oppressed, the homeless: This is baked into our DNA. No doubt, we have severe problems at home on these issues, deserving dedicated space and time.
However, I feel we are standing on our shores, shaking our heads, saying, “Oh my, this is just terrible,” then turn from the atrocities and tuck in at night. Standing aside is not who we are as a country; it is not how our nation was born. Our Founding Fathers fought at the risk of being hanged for treason. The sadness exists because we, as a nation, are not doing what we should be doing for the first time.
Why is a Ukrainian life valued less than ours so that we don’t help them fight as we would for ourselves?
The Ukrainians are my people, too. They are a part of all of us. I hope that people in our country will unite once again, realizing how precious Democracy and our right to vote are to us all. I do not propose a nuclear winter. But my issues regarding the sanctity of life remain. I know we cannot respond forcefully with all our might, as I believe so many of us deep within wish we could. The result would be unacceptable. However, a serpent lies coiled in a dark place somewhere in Florida, waiting to strike with the swish of his tail. Will those who support the orange serpent and his snakelets see the reality and truth between a liberal Democracy and fascism as the Ukrainians show us by giving their lives with endless courage to fight for what is true, good, and noble: a free Democracy?
No one has answers, and we take one day at a time. Ukraine is a seismic event in our history, and we are the witnesses. Let us not forget the history of fascism; genocide, no free press, no right to be heard or vote. Please take my comments as one who asks questions, keeping me awake at night.
On a lighter note, I share two final painterly images: My cat, Abbey, in her peaceful sleep and a burst of orchid blossom colors that I send to Ukraine along with my heart.
May we send our prayers and hearts to Ukraine. May we not forget our own who are in need. The challenging times ahead will make us stronger and better. May peace reign in all our hearts everywhere.