Aside from heartbreak and rage, what more can be said about Vladimir Putin’s criminal attack on a sovereign Ukraine, a blatant attempt to annex a free, democratic nation under a demonstrably false set of manufactured pretexts? I watched translated versions of the nauseating farce of Putin’s “cabinet debate” and his rambling speech establishing his “rationale” for invasion, a pitiful reminder of the pathetic theater that authoritarians undertake to mimic the democratic process as they desperately seek credibility for their criminality.
In the wake of that performance, what to make of the hard work of the American political right to sow a domestic rationale for consent, to continually launder Russian propaganda in an effort to bolster their place in an international authoritarian movement? Or the deliberate attempts by the Republican Party and Trump and their propagandists on right wing media to undermine and weaken NATO, to refuse to lift a finger to support democratic movements for the people of Belarus, or their slavering love for Orban’s control of Hungary, or bringing literal authoritarians into the White House and sending them around the world on missions to undermine democratic institutions? Or Trump’s attempt to withhold military support for Ukraine unless Zelenskyy manufactured lies in order to interfere in our domestic Presidential election? Or, in the wake of Russia’s unilateral annexation of Crimea, modifying the Republican party platform in order to remove military aid to Ukraine because the annexation and Russia backing Ukrainian rebels was “really a problem that affects Europe a lot more than it affects us”? Or taking the stage in recent days to praise Putin’s strength and a 24 hour propaganda TV channel brainwashing generations into believing democracy may not be such a great idea after all?
And what to make of the media making every effort to ensure the “politics” of this movement are seen as legitimate, normal discourse, just one of an equal pair of political ideas that deserves credible engagement, a platform, the benefit of the doubt? Or the leaders on the so-called left and the middle, who refuse to use the power of their institutions to expose the obvious, to give us justice, a counter narrative, or to fight back, despite the fact that, once those institutions are forfeited, they will be leveraged to dismantle the left and middle in favor of authoritarian minority rule?
We are in the midst of a war against democracy, not just in Ukraine, but globally, here, now, and it seems that everyone is under the delusion that Ukraine is someone else’s problem and politics at home is business as usual. But it most certainly is NOT and unless there is real action to stop the authoritarian right, we’ll all find out what the true stakes are soon enough, just as the people of Ukraine are finding out tonight. I cannot stop thinking about them, about how we all failed them. And for that, I am truly sorry. 💙🇺🇦💛