POSTNOTE Dec. 26, 2022: The following paragraphs basically summarize events the last few days before Christmas. Here are two commentaries which I think you’d find of interest, received today: Letters from an American Dec 25; The Weekly Sift, Dec. 26. The “Patriots” are all of us who saved the country from the invasion Jan. 6, 2022, and all of its preceding and successor pretenders in the United States. It’s up to us to keep our democracy and our republic safe in the future.
There is so much happening, that I can only summarize some items.
UKRAINE: Yesterday, Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to a joint session of the U.S. Congress. You can watch the entire speech, in English, here. I highly recommend watching this. It is specifically noted that English is not Zalenskyy’s native language. His message was to Congress, but more pointedly it was to all of us.
On November 17, an organization in which I’m active, had a speaker present on the Ukraine situation. The gathering was recorded, and can be watched here.
I asked a friend, not Ukrainian, who contributes to the people of Ukraine, which entity he’d recommend, and this was his response. “There are a lot of people raising money for Ukraine. I suggest [Stand With Ukraine MN] There are options on how the money you donate will be used.”
Think of the people in Ukraine. We’re in the first serious cold snap of the winter here in the U.S. As I write, it’s sunshiny, 7 below zero, significant breeze and thus significant wind chill. We’re not alone. The Ukraine climate is very similar to what can be expected in my home state of North Dakota. Pres. Zelenskyy talked at the 300th day of the Russian invasion, and the Russian strategy is clearly to create extreme misery for the civilian Ukraine population this winter, damaging essential services like electricity and access to heat and water, absolute essentials. Most of us take heat, light, food and water for granted. We tend to forget what it’s like to be without these essentials.
Jan 9, 2023: a more recent post including Ukraine content is here. See link to President Zelenskyy New Years address at the beginning of the post, and more content later in the post.
CUBA AND THE U.S.: In the last day or so I was reminded of a past situation in which I was in the near proximity in October, 1962.
It was the Cuban Missile Crisis, and a consequence of it has been essentially a blockade of Cuba since 1959.
The announcement included the following text: Golden Rule Cuba
I responded to the announcement as follows: I have long had an interest in and affinity towards the people of Cuba. It’s not quite so simple as portrayed below, however. I was in the U.S. Army when President Kennedy addressed the nation in October, 1963; in fact I watched his speech on a tiny television in an Army barracks a few short miles from a main suspected target for the missiles to be planted on Cuban soil.
Here’s what I wrote Dec. 3, 2016. I’ve had other posts on the topic since. Search Cuba in the blog archives.
NAZI GERMANY AND THE AMERICA FIRST MOVEMENT PRE WWII. Finally, I would really urge you to take the time to listen to all eight podcasts at Rachel Maddow’s Ultra, about the very near miss this country faced, nearly succumbing to Fascism in the years preceding our entry into World War II. It was a very near miss. I’ve listened to all of the segments in their entirety (each is about 45 minutes) and they are an extraordinary look at our countries history: misuse and abuse of power by influential church and state actors. To paraphrase Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 book title, “It almost did happen here”.
We tend to forget that what happens elsewhere in the world has consequences for us. We like to pretend that we’re still an isolated island in the greater world, a monolith, sheltered by oceans as boundaries; too easy to forget the consequences of isolationism and U.S. civilian support for the Nazis in the run-up to WWII.
Pretending that we don’t need to engage in helping other people in other countries, regardless of where they are is too often our blind spot. There is still too much “leave me alone – deal with your own stuff” attitude. What’s mine is mine, so to speak.
If you watch the news, you know of what I speak. Refugees at the Mexico-U.S. border; Afghanistan resettlement requests, on and on.
Christmas evening I watched a compelling documentary, “Loan Wolves”, about the crisis in students debt and the reasons for it and why it is a crisis. I think you can watch it free here. It is worth your time. At the end of the film is an extended revelation of interactions involving Sen. Schumer and Sen. Durbin, both Democrats. The segment hi-lited for me a reality we often forget. Senators, indeed any elected officials, have immensely complicated jobs, not amenable to simple solutions. And even if they are of the same party, they are not necessarily fully apprised of their respective positions.
There is no better New Year resolution than to resolve to pay more attention to your role in the success or failure of our society. through the government each of us is responsible for selecting at all levels.
from Bob: Thanks for all the Rachel Maddow podcasts. They are treasure of American right wing history , mostly disgusting. Hopefully, these times will someday only be like a bad dream, especially if we right our democracy and protect the constitution. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
from Claude: a thought flit into my mind as I was reading today’s headline as I was walking back from the driveway. Stranded travelers during the holidays probably incited more discussion about climate change than several Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA) by Just Stop Oil or Extinction Rebellion. 2023 will prove to be an interesting year per the ancient Chinese blessing/curse.