In one slight shift between a global pandemic, we find ourselves faced with the threat of war. It seems that we’re beyond learning anything from our history. We seem doomed to push ourselves over the precipice and into our annihilation.
Given our record of warmongering as a species, it’s a miracle that we’ve survived as long as we have. Of course, that could all change at the flip of a switch. There is little to assure us that commonsense will prevail. For those who would like to believe in the best of humankind, the past decade has certainly tested our faith in humanity.
Ukraine has become the focus of our thoughts. Our hearts go out to those who are facing down a bully who is committed to getting what he wants regardless of man suffering. Russia bears down on the nation of Ukraine baiting the west to intervene and risk another world war. The man Trump called a genius is a monster, who used the former president’s stupidity to weaken the U.S. Trump was an effective fifth columnist for Putin and his cohorts. For years they played Trump for the fool he is, and it’s paid off.
The United States has become increasingly divided. Any hope of collaboration has fallen foul of divisive and petty point-scoring. Trump’s need to be liked and egocentric politics has weakened democracy. He has unwittingly played into Putin’s hands and continues to do so with his terminal selfishness.
It is even speculated that had Trump been given a second term, he would’ve withdrawn the U.S from NATO. Of course, this decision would’ve pleased his followers. After all, it’s someone else’s problem and not ours. I’m sure that as oil prices go up and we have to pay more at the pumps, there will be the usual whiners complaining about interfering in global politics.
The inconvenience of paying more at the pump will no doubt be seen as a greater hardship than watching the sick, elderly, and children being bombed. The isolationism that Trump hoped he would garner would let us all off the hook from feeling any obligation to help anyone else out.
What is even more alarming is that this sort of thinking would be sanctioned by some Christian churches. There are those bible believing individuals who twist the words of Christ to justify their second amendment rights to bear arms, abandon the need (if they’re not American) and essentially allow them to remain preoccupied with selfish desires. I’m sure Heaven for such people is simply another piece of real estate.
When it comes to people of faith, I’m not impressed by those who protest their self-serving agendas. If that’s what they want, then Trump is their saviour and role model. However, those who really take their faith seriously are less concerned with their own welfare and extend themselves to serve others.
Those are the people who rarely get recognized for their altruism. They work tirelessly for the good of others. And those people are not simply believers. Many of those who feel moved to serve others don’t believe in God. They are not working to either get themselves into heaven or earn Brownie points with a deity.
Faith is not exclusive to those who believe in a God. There are those who simply do good because they believe in the goodness of humankind. Even in the face of global atrocities they put their lives at risk to help those who cannot help themselves. They are not stuck in making America great again at the expense of others.
We need to get over our myopic nationalism and see that we’re part of a global community. What happens in Ukraine will affect us. If we allow the bully to wreak devastation outside our borders and do nothing, we’re no better than those who did nothing when Hitler started exterminating the Jews. We cannot look to God, like Cain, and say ‘am I my brother’s keeper’.
We can be like Bob Geldof who, tired of watching people die of starvation, did something about it. Or we can be like those Catholic priests who died opposing fascist governments in South America, some of which were being financed by the U.S. Archbishop Romero, not a liberation theologian, who was murdered while saying mass for speaking out against injustice. These are people who have made the world a better place, not a bitter place.
There are a number of exemplary examples of people who, out of the goodness of their own hearts, have extended themselves in the service of others. In times of darkness, it’s the light of their souls and their deeds that inspire us to believe in goodness.
Ukraine is facing an apocalypse of its own. Putin is ruthlessly killing its citizens while the world watches. Our governments are cautiously taking measures to show their disdain. These sanctions come at a cost to us. We may have to tighten our belts.
Our lifestyles may have to adjust to accommodate fewer luxuries but we’re doing it for a reason. What is happening in Ukraine could happen to us. If we don’t act against the bullies of this world, we will suffer the consequences of our inaction. We run the risk of blinding ourselves to the sufferings of others.
Ukraine needs our help. Can we sit back and watch innocent people suffer and die without doing something? I, for one, am quite proud of what President Biden has done. He has led the way in demonstrating our distaste for Russia’s invasion. I am confident that he and world leaders will continue to put pressure on Russia to stop the bombing and killing of Ukrainians.
It’s only when we see world leaders come together to fight against tyranny that we can begin to believe again in the goodness of humankind. For our part, we need to vote in people who are not isolationists, or bigots, and who work to make the world a better place, not a bitter one.