Letter from the Vineyard March 1, 2022 Realizing what matters…

As I have been sitting here, contemplating the world, determined to begin writing a ‘letter’ though taking a while to find the way from thinking to putting fingers to the keyboard, dusk has become night.  In the background, Chopin plays on Alexa, a composer I find soothing, playing him much these days when the need for soothing is so high.

I’m home from a day of “book mongering,” as my godson Paul calls what I do, a day that was good, inventory time.

Last Wednesday night, I opened my laptop to start writing and didn’t; the world was pregnant with grim possibilities, realized the following morning when Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, justifying it with the most specious of reasons while warning the west if they defied him, he might rain nuclear hell on us.

Last night, I donated to Doctors Without Borders, a little more than I can really afford, because I know they are there, working to help.  Please do something, anything, to support Ukraine. It’s more important than a new sweater.

Out of this are coming stories, evoking memories of other moments of great bravery.  A Russian warship approached Snake Island, demanding its surrender.  The contingent of Ukrainian soldiers, a mere thirteen, responded, “Russian warship, go f**k yourself.”

Those words will resonate for a long, long time.

Zelensky, president of Ukraine, is a former comedian who played a president.  When offered evacuation by the US, he said, “I need ammunition, not a ride.”

These are stories that remind one of World War II, of England, when it was bleakest.

Germany, whose stance has been a bit wobbly, responded with a rush of military aid, upping the ante in the last few days, agreeing to increase its defense commitment to above what NATO requests, a first.

What is going on in Ukraine is a reminder that democracy is worth fighting for.  Ukraine is fighting for its right to be free from a man who is attempting to rebuild the Russian Empire, to wrest back what was once controlled by the USSR or by the Tsars.  He controls the news the way they did.  Nothing is said without his permission. 

Putin rules Russia with the iron fist of a Stalin or Alexander III.  And has their kind of ambitions for his country.  He seethes with resentment over the breakup of the USSR.  He sees Ukraine as Russia’s, which is a simplification of a long history of the country.  I suspect that’s the way he sees Poland, Latavia, Estonia, Lithuania.  He has warned Finland, a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire under the Tsars, not to think about joining NATO. 

Putin wants it all back.

We all thought we were beyond this but we’re not.

What also is frightening are people like Tucker Carlson, who, by the way, knows better but panders to the crowd, saying things like, well, what has Putin done to you?  He has been so outrageous one might wonder if he is on Putin’s dole.

Or how about former President Trump who calls Putin “smart” and “savvy,” encouraging his base to side with Putin in this conflict?  This is a sad, sad commentary, reflecting how far the Republican Party has strayed from its roots under the guidance of Trump.

There has always been a part of America which has yearned for dictatorial rule [reference the Madison Square Garden gathering in 1939 of the Bund, an American Nazi coalition].

Ukraine is reminding us, if we are willing to be reminded, of how important freedom is.  Ukraine is reminding the European Union it is fighting for their ideals.

As I send this, a forty-mile-long caravan of Russian military vehicles crawls toward Kyiv, while rocket attacks hit the city center. Kharkov is being shattered by Russian missiles.But the Ukrainians are fighting back with ferocity, shocking the Russians, driving Putin to distraction as his forces have failed to bulldoze over a country he thought would topple in a minute.

It hasn’t. 

Zelensky is the Churchill of the hour.

God’s speed, Ukraine.

I will do what I can to stand with you.

2 Responses to “Letter from the Vineyard March 1, 2022 Realizing what matters…”

  1. CARAMEL Says:

    This 40 mile line of tanks has been making me very nervous.
    I am baffled about what has got under Putin’s skin and emboldened him at this point. How is there any future for him as a leader?

  2. tombers Says:

    The 40 mile line is scary. And we will find out if he has any future as a leader. This is not going the way he expected. Thanks for reading.

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