These days bring moments of incredible clarity in the fog of life. Never in our collective lifetimes have humans been exposed so blatantly to pure evil on the scale of what Putin has now unleashed in Ukraine, an unprovoked slaughter and destruction of a culture and countless of its innocent people by the full force of the military of a great world power.
Arising from this have been remarkable heralds of courage and resistance, beginning with the Ukrainian people themselves. They’ve exhibited a resolve in the face of extreme violence that puts to shame lip service paeans to freedom and democracy by sunshine patriots around the world.
Both Putin’s evil and the resistance to it have provided a moral clarity that sets in stark relief freedom and democracy’s true patriotism, as distinguished from the evil that has, among other things, animated so much of the ugly attacks on America’s own hard fought democracy by Trumpian reactionaries at home.
People fighting so valiantly to defend their democracy is in stark, stark contrast to the fascists whose notion of “patriotism” was to wave flags of the enemies of freedom, Nazis and Confederates. while attacking the bastion of our freedom, the nation’s Capital, on January 6 last year.
Ukraine’s brave and eloquent president Volodymyr Zelensky’s comment at the outset of Putin’s unprovoked invasion last week set the tone, in simple words expressing his resolve to stay and fight with his people that are already etched on the permanent edifice of humanity, noble struggle, “I’m not asking for a ride, but for ammunition.”
The images of Ukranians of all ages, including grandmothers in their 90s, locking and loading to fight for their freedom have choked up millions of people, and none so much so as the Washington Post video of an anonymous Ukrainian boy in the lobby of a hotel in Kharkiv as Putin’s bombs begin to rain on the city, playing on a piano the haunting notes of the Philip Glass and Paul Leonard-Morgan’s 2020 piece, “Walk to School.”
The video image now seen by millions worldwide, was a powerfully moving evocation of the incredible human pathos involved, of a youth, a piano, a talent, a melancholy tune about the simplest of peacetime activities, all about to go up in smithereens for no rational reason whatsoever. The hotel was bombed and the fate of the boy is unknown. According to the Post, the co-composer Leonard-Morgan posted an “emoji” online in response to the video of a broken heart. It summed up the human reaction to the horror.
It also underscores the utter shame that partisans in the U.S. Republican Party should be feeling for their unimaginable support for Putin in this moment, starting with the Russian Agent No. 1, Trump himself. At the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference in Florida last week, pathetic delegates chanted, “Putin, Putin, Putin!” as the invasion of Ukraine began.
It was only when American public opinion sided so strongly with the Ukrainian people did some CPAC spokespersons offer impotent support for the Ukrainians, laced with attacks on President Biden for failing to stop Putin.
In a Yahoo-YouGov poll released Monday, among Trump voters, only three percent said that Biden is doing a better job leading his country than Putin, and 47 percent said Putin is doing a better job with his country. Trump, of course, has famously praised Putin as a “genius,” and attacked American leaders as “dumb.”
Recall how Trump assailed NATO while in the White House and sought to condition U.S. military aid to Ukraine on Zelensky’s willingness to pin false charges on Biden, a move that precipitated a Congressional impeachment.
Most recently, this Tuesday two GOP lawmakers attempted to heckle Biden during his State of the Union address when he was standing tall for the free world in a powerful speech denouncing Putin and his invasion.
In this moment of unusual political and moral clarity, freedom-loving people worldwide are getting a solid glimpse of the world as it really is, with the new fascist international on one side, including Putin and Trump, and democratic institutions and governments backed by a brave and aroused public on the other.