Tommy CarcettiTommy Carcetti's Journal
As some of you might already know, I am of Ukrainian descent, and I have numerous family members living in Ukraine at the moment.
When it comes to Ukrainian politics, I personally haven't gotten much of a dog in that fight--so long as the politician isn't like Viktor Yanukovych, who was stealing billions out of the Ukrainian treasury, cozy with Vladimir Putin and then engaging in a bloody crackdown on public protests in 2013 and 2014 before packing up and flying away to Russia.
But for the rest, I've tried to stay objective and let Ukrainians themselves decide who is best to lead them.
That being said, I did get a lot of input from my Ukrainian relatives and needless to say, when Volodymyr Zelensky was elected in 2019, a lot of them were highly skeptical of his leadership abilities.
He had no elected experience, was just an actor and comedian, didn't have as great a command of the local language as they liked, and his campaign platform seemed to be pursuing a dubious "Peace with honor" style plan where the separatist regions in the East would be given semi-autonomous status and thus could still very well be influenced by Russia even if Putin claims to have backed off. The fear was that because Zelensky was a complete novice, he could be easily manipulated or dominated by the Kremlin, even if that wasn't Zelensky's own intention.
I actually was able to watch the first season of Zelensky's now-prophetic "Servant of the People" show and while it was humorous and entertaining, I doubted fiction could easily be translated into real life.
So needless to say, their skepticism--which I found justified for reasons at the time--became my skepticism about Zelensky's ability to lead as well.
However, I am very happy to say that I have been proven wrong by Volodymyr Zelensky, in the very best of ways.
Zelensky has absolutely grown into his role as Ukrainian President flawlessly and not let anyone--most importantly Putin himself--push him or his people around.
He proved his mettle pretty early on when he resisted Donald Trump's efforts to shake him down for political and personal gain to the detriment of his country's defense.
That proved a good preparation for future tests to come.
Some people you know will be strong leaders from the get-go. Others catch you completely by surprise.
My doubts about Zelensky have turned out to be unfounded.
He has proven himself to my favorite kind of hero--the unexpected hero, the reluctant hero. The type of hero who does not seek out greatness but has greatness thrust upon him.
His unflinching dedication to his people and his country in this time of greatest trial have been phenomenal. And he has done so all while maintaining democratic and peaceful values.
So yes, I have been officially won over by Volodymyr Zelensky, and I couldn't be happier to say that all my initial doubts about him were completely wrong.
That is what that pestilent piece of fucking shit called Ukraine yesterday.
Said Putin was "smart" and took it, "a great piece of land."
Not a nation or a country. No words of support or solidarity to its people.
It was just "a great piece of land."
Like it was one of his shitty little golf courses.
They're bombing my grandparents' hometown today. I was there, three years ago. As corny as it sounds, I could really feel their presence there. It was a truly incredible moment where I felt such a connection with a place.
This is more than "a great piece of land." This is a beloved home for millions of people, and a place of ancestral pride for millions more such as myself.
And one day, Donald Trump will be sitting alongside Vladimir Putin, Josef Stalin and Adolph Hitler.
And it will be very, very, very hot.
First, we're told that Nancy Pelosi was responsible for the invasion of the US Capitol by violent Trump supporters, disrupting the certification of the election of her fellow Democrat Joe Biden as President and shouting threats of harm against...Nancy Pelosi.
Now, we're being told that Ukraine is attempting to provoke its own invasion by Russia.
Disinformation really is a funny little creature, isn't it? Impervious to all logic.
Expect to be inundated with a lot of disinformation about the situation in Ukraine. Even here at DU.
You're probably going to hear a lot about appeals about a desire to supposedly be "anti-war" or "anti-imperialism." Expect to hear a lot about NATO expansion in Europe, about the US invasion in Iraq or prior CIA actions in places like Chile or Iran. Expect to hear about how the 2014 Maidan protests in Ukraine were actually a US sponsored coup, or how the current Ukrainian government is corrupted by fascist or neo-Nazi elements.
A lot of this might sound good on the surface, especially to persons--myself included--who fashion themselves pacifists or at least a fan of diplomacy over military action when it comes to foreign affairs.
However, a lot of it is either blatantly untrue, heavily distorted versions of the truth, or simply irrelevant to the current situation at hand.
Use proper discernment and consider the sources being used. Fact check using reliable sources of information. Don't just go on what might sound good on the surface.
This might seem obvious considering that is what we've had to deal with with persons on the right, but the left can--and has been--susceptible to agenda-driven disinformation efforts as well.
And this is not our first go-around here at DU. Perhaps some might remember back in 2014 and 2015 these same talking points making the rounds heavily on DU in light of the Maidan protests and then the Russian annexation of Crimea and their instigation and infusion of pro-Russian fighting in Eastern Ukraine.
There were a lot of posts that went unchallenged and were accepted as true because too many people thought what was being said sounded good. Even some long time DUers fell victim to these trappings.
Thankfully, we're better prepared these days. In 2014-15, the notion of disinformation and false news was still a great unknown, but the 2016 election and subsequent right-wing oriented disinformation efforts have served as a great wakeup call. And a lot of the DUers who participated in spreading the disinformation about Ukraine eight years ago left in the middle of 2016 because they didn't want to get behind the Democratic Party nominee.
But that doesn't mean we should let our guard down. I've already seen disinformation about the Ukrainian situation seeping its way back onto DU, and we can only expect more if matters take a turn for the worse in coming days.
All you have to realize throughout are some very simple truths:
1. Ukraine is a sovereign nation, and whether it desires to join NATO or the EU is its own decision, not anyone else's
2. Putin is the sole aggressor in this situation. Not Ukraine. Not NATO. Not the US.
3. The US has no plans to put boots on the ground in Ukraine, nor does Ukraine expect the US to put boots on the ground in Ukraine
4. Ukraine is a democracy--a flawed and fledging democracy, but a democracy nonetheless--and providing material support to a democracy in the face of unjustified aggression is not a bad thing
5. Being "anti-war" or "anti-imperialism" does not mean acquiescing to unchecked aggression by an autocratic regime against its democratic neighbor simply because you think that's "peace." That's not "peace" at all.
In the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Rite Catholic liturgies that are prevalent throughout Ukraine, there is at one point in the mass where the celebrating priest--before reading the gospel--announces to the congregation, "Wisdom! Be attentive!"
Now, putting aside any discussion of religious belief or lack thereof, on a simply secular level, that's still very good advice to be had in any type of given situation.
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