A Crazy Dream: When We Teeter on the Edge Between Depression and Hopefulness

I am dreaming that what seemed impossible yesterday will be possible tomorrow. Or as Anne Applebaum put it in her recent article in the Atlantic, the Impossible Suddenly Became Possible. People are waking up to the fact that war can still happen, yet we can and we must not only save Ukraine but save and expand democracy.

 

On February 28, Ali Velshi, substituting for Joy Reid on the MSNBC program the ReidOut, discussed results unexpected by Putin, and maybe by many of us. He didn’t expect President Zelensky of Ukraine to be such a determined, inspiring leader. He didn’t expect so many Ukrainian civilians to take up arms. Didn’t expect university students, bartenders, common citizens to make Molotov cocktails in their classrooms, bars and homes. He didn’t expect ordinary Ukrainians to sit down in front of tanks. He didn’t expect thousands to protest in Russian cities, and cities throughout the world. He didn’t expect former Soviet satellite states like Belarus, or Hungary, to refuse to send troops or support him, but instead to speak out against him. To help isolate him.

 

He didn’t expect Russian troops to surrender their arms and admit to reporters they were told they were being sent on maneuvers or a peacekeeping mission, not being asked to kill fellow Balkans. He didn’t see NATO coming together after his protégé, DJT, did all he could to undermine or destroy US alliances with other democracies.

 

All through the world, as well as here in the U. S., people who want to live in a democracy, who were shocked by DJT, GOP attacks on voting rights, white nationalist violence, COVID, global warming, economic insecurity into being afraid or hopeless saw what we dreaded most played out. Putin made them see, made us see, what we could lose. Made us see what might happen if we did not act. If we got so caught up in ourselves that we forgot that we share this world, this suffering, this love of life with others, billions of others. We realized if we hadn’t already done so⎼ we cannot allow the forces of autocracy to be emboldened any further.

 

In-between the perception that something is wrong, and the action taken to stop it is a gigantic space, and an opportunity we all have, to find our communion with others. To find our power. To find the way that we, the unique people that we are, to act, to help, to speak. Seeing what the Ukrainians are facing and doing can inspire us to act. But will we act?

 

Yet, as Dana Milbank put it in a Washington Post article, Republicans are so eager to see Biden fail, so eager to undermine democracy, they act in ways that help Putin succeed. Act in ways that threaten not only Ukrainians, and other Europeans, but us. Here, in the U. S. They are supporting an autocratic ruler who is causing an unknown number of deaths and, so far, almost one million refugees with the goal of destroying a nation’s freedom and way of life.

 

There is the popular expression about using a carrot or a stick to get people to learn, or to act ⎼ using praise or blame, prizes or threats, inspiration or fear. Due to the awful conditions we face right now and might face later, from COVID, climate change, white nationalists, and Putin⎼ this is the stick. We can see what we fear happening here or everywhere. But there’s also the carrot, the opportunity, the prize. But this prize is not something someone else gives us but one we give ourselves. We get stronger. We get closer to others. More compassionate. We build a better society.

 

Because of Putin we might be shocked into action. Because of the Ukrainian people, we might be inspired.

 

As Heather Cox Richardson put it, “…Ukrainian resistance to Russian president Vladimir Putin, supported by the cooperation of the U.S. and European allies and partners in strangling Russia’s economic system, was forging a global alliance against the authoritarianism that has been growing in power around the world.” It’s time to join that resistance. To speak out in support of, to send aid, money, supplies to Ukraine.

 

As I fear what the Ukrainian people are facing, and teeter on an edge between depression and hopefulness, it is beginning to seem more possible that we can build a resistance and maybe create a better world for us to live in. We can build or actualize a love for this world. I hope I’m not just dreaming.

 

 

**Many people and organizations are working to aid the people of Ukraine and stop not only Putin but international and American forces of autocracy. One list of organizations to support is provided by Timothy Snyder, historian, and author of On Tyranny. You can also read his newsletter on Ukraine. Charity Navigator is another resource.

 

***This article was syndicated by The Good Men Project. Please go to this link.

 

Politics as Civil War: DT Must Be Impeached Immediately or Removed Via the 25th Amendment

Mao said “Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.” A variant of a quote by Clausewitz is “War is merely the continuation of politics [policy] by other means.” But yesterday in the U. S., blood was shed. We have in DT’s USA, politics as civil war. After 4 years of him treating politics as a slow coup, as a way to seize power for himself alone, his words and actions descended into blatant incitement to violence and close to Civil War.

 

And this followed his phone call on January 2 where he threatened and tried to force Brad Raffensperger, the GOP Secretary of State of Georgia, to “find 11,780 votes.” In a manner demented by his total focus on himself alone, he continued to try to steal the election, by spouting again and again that the election was stolen from (not by) him.

 

Before Wednesday, DT urged people to come to Washington. Saying it was “Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 election,” riots were incited.

 

And then on Wednesday morning, he did it again. His lawyer, Giuliani, told the crowd, “Let’s have trial by combat.” DT then added “we are going to have to fight much harder.” He said, “We will never give up. We will never concede when there is theft involved.” He warned Vice President Pence to not allow Joe Biden to be certified as the winner of the election, despite all the facts pointing to that reality. He repeated a worn out claim with no basis in fact that Chinese Socialists were trying to take over the nation. He said he would be there with them.

 

But as they assaulted Capitol Hill, he was present only in memory, repeating his lies in their minds.

 

DT’s civil war is largely by white Christian nationalists who favor a dictatorship versus the rest of us.

 

4 people are dead. Not only those who assaulted the Capitol must be prosecuted. The law enforcement officers who somehow let these terrorists into the building to attack not just the building but stop members of Congress from doing their duty⎼ and their superiors, who either did not plan sufficiently or who did not immediately get reinforcements to the building⎼ those responsible must be prosecuted. Then there is Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley and other Senators and House members who, even after this violence, still supported DT’s sedition.

 

And even after all this, DT continued to incite the destruction of our democracy by repeating his malicious lies or distortions. He told those who had stormed the capitol, “Go home, we love you, you’re very special.” “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly and unfairly treated for so long.”

 

We are in the middle of a pandemic that is killing almost 4,000 people a day. And all this President and his supporters can focus on is stealing power at any cost. This looks like deadly negligence to me.

 

The politics of grievance. The politics of hate. This is what it leads to. Isn’t threatening a public official, interfering in an election, sedition, negligence, incitement to riot crimes or impeachable offenses, and enough to get him immediately and legally thrown from office? Maybe invoke the 25th amendment? Then it would be his own supporters who are seen as acting.

 

If this nation, if we let him go free, we permit the division and hate to continue. Who knows what he or his supporters might try next? But it must be done in a way that we don’t make him a martyr for hate. We don’t let him steal anymore headlines. Not only must he personally be discredited but his brand of politics.

 

And share this with Congress members. Call them. Tell them you’re glad they’re safe. Now, our nation must be made safe, from DT.

 

Please read Heather Cox Richardson for a more in-depth treatment of yesterday’s frightening events.

 

This post was syndicated by The Good Men Project.