Do We Look, But Not See? Listen, But Not Hear?4/8/22
“This man cannot remain in power.” These words were spoken by President Biden on his recent visit to Poland. This statement arguably should not have been made, but few deny the truth of these words. Putin is not only an existential threat to democracy and the free world, the horror in Ukraine and the peril he would inflict upon all of Europe and our United States to complete his mission is undeniable.
Leaders of the western powers are working together in a manner we have not seen in decades, and only by showing strength and resolve at the borders of Poland and the Baltic states is there any hope that Putin will back down. At this point making the skies of Kyiv, Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities safe by sending antiaircraft missiles and hordes of militarized drones, possibly MIG fighters, and pointing our nuclear weapons eastward seem be the only language Putin understands.
We look on in horror as Putin systematically destroys not only structures and lives, but an independent, free culture. He claims to be rescuing Ukraine, yet shows no regard for their lives; and he may have a much broader perspective in mind. He may be looking toward the ultimate subjugation of Europe and all western democracies, including our United States.
These were the objectives of Hitler and Stalin. We must take a formidable stand at the western border of Ukraine and the northern borders of Belarus and Russia, or Putin will gladly take that opportunity. And the Atlantic is no longer the barrier it was in the time of Hitler. It is a mere puddle for Putin’s hypersonic missiles and weapons.
Let us also look over our shoulder and see the danger within our own borders. Putin’s claims of fighting Nazis in Ukraine struck a familiar chord, having been misinformed so regularly by President Donald Trump. Trump claimed “a relationship with Putin” in 2013, but who knows? He clearly sided with Putin at the Helsinki Summit, ranking Putin’s assertions over the warnings of our own American intelligence; but we can only guess what promises and secrets might have been exchanged during their highly irregular undocumented meeting.
Trump would go on to undermine NATO, Putin’s sworn enemy and bane, claim to not see any reason why the Russians would meddle in the 2016 election, incite a seditious attack upon our Capitol, attempt to overturn our 2020 election, and describe Putin as a “genius” who is “smart and savvy” for attacking Ukraine.
The 5th Column of Putinism has been embraced by Donald Trump. Having questioned the prosecution of January 6 insurrectionists and the outcome of our 2020 election without a shred of evidence, Trump supporters now appearing on Russian TV were recently accompanied by a Russian government official urging the people of the U.S. to “again help our partner Trump to become president.”
The “Peoples Convoy” in our Capital, allegedly a protest against mask and vaccination mandates, was moved from March 2 to February 23, just 3 days after Putin’s attack on the Ukrainian people. Wasting precious fuel and disrupting the lives of everyday Americans, the trucks roared with horns blaring and snarled traffic, threatening unity in our nation’s Capital as best they could as our government responded to Putin’s attack upon Ukraine.
Did supporters who stood on overpasses waving banners agree with Putin’s war and recent efforts here to establish state run citizen-on-
citizen spy networks for law enforcement? Such actions mirror the establishment of a Stasi network that would attack anyone who might be a foe of an authoritarian regime. We must have a healthy fear of and vigilance against tyranny. Racism, bigotry, xenophobia, and lies are dangerous to our republic and must be seen as a threat to our democracy and all of humanity.
It is time to open our eyes and stand together in support of our democratic republic. As John Donne warned, “No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less...Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.”
Marc Ebersberger is a member of the Talbot County Democratic Forum and resides in Easton.