Think about it for a second. Let it linger on the mind. We have all been vulnerable, all been in need at some point in our life. Yes, we all know how it feels to be unmoored.
That in mind, tell Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the neophyte president of Ukraine, a man who has the fate of his young nation hanging in the balance that he was under no pressure.
Now look back to America, that beacon of freedom and equality shining its light to guide Ukraine away from the benighted ways of a Soviet past and a menacing Russian future.
“Light the way ahead, America. Show us the way forward.”
Now ask yourself how you would react if the President of the United States sent over his private lawyer saying one thing – like pony up those investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election if you want our help – while U.S. State Department representatives were presenting something else altogether – like keep your nose clean and stay out of domestic U.S. matters if you expect our help? What would you do caught in that pincer movement? Probably react just like the Ukrainians did, by becoming increasingly confused and then just plain scared.
Defenders of our president say there was not only no quid pro quo suggested during his July 25th call to the Ukraine president, but that there was no pressure applied at all. And that President Zelenskiy agreed when asked. But you get down on the ground and bring out the political barometer and you’ll feel plenty of pressure. Because when Ukraine is hanging on by its fingernails as a new democracy with an emasculated former empire on its border anxious to reanimate that past glory at your expense, and the USA is ostensibly your new big bro protector who suddenly seems to be looking in the other direction, man, if that isn’t pressure please tell me what is.
If the U.S. wanted to initiate a new Ukraine policy, fine. Geopolitics is a delicate dance with many competing priorities. And in this part of the world along the border of East and West where many historical forces have remained fluid since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, if we are going to change course yet again, at least do it with one clear voice, not say two things from two mouths that stand in utter opposition to one other. Because in Kyiv the old diplomacy wasn’t wedded to the new “favor”. And for a fragile new democracy which is desperately trying to break free of an old corrupting hold and link up with the West and its core values like the rule of law, sending not just mixed but conflicting messages isn’t just counterproductive, it’s morally indefensible. You are you playing with people’s lives. This was no theoretical exercise, this was f’ing with people at their most vulnerable stage of nation creation.
I mean, the whole thing smacks of such world-class, mean streets thuggishness, leaning on a little guy when you know you’ve got his balls in a vice. Not to mention that it undercuts 243 years of American exceptionalism, the one thing beyond all else that has separated us from every other nation in world history.
Instead, here we are made to look like just another banana republic, simple power grabbers willing to pressure whoever the weakest player is to our own advantage. But not even to the benefit of the whole country, just to one man!
You know, I can see throwing away 243 years of flawed but good-willed special nation status for some remarkable new leader or for some grand new international world order. I don’t know who or what that might be, but at least it is possible to imagine.
But to throw it away for this bully-boy brand of leadership? In a country that has given us George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan and Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Jefferson, George Marshall, and you can go on and on. For this? Even Ole Hickory, Andrew Jackson, who Trump is most likened to, served the nation in battle. But this guy? This is your hero?! The bankruptcy king? The charity abuser? The twat snatcher? This is who everything is being compromised for?!
Go ahead, find anything morally ethically or intellectually honest about the guy. Why not just exhume Jeffrey Epstein and replant him in the Oval Office? Would you be able to tell the difference other than getting a few more Lincoln bedroom visits from Prince Andrew?
So think about it for a second. Let it linger on the mind. Is this who we’ve become, another cynical believer in Realpolitik? If so, then it’s time to plow under Arlington National Cemetery and take dynamite to Mount Rushmore, because America is finished as the nation we once knew and the world once revered.
Four score and seven smears ago, the 2016 campaign brought forth on this continent a new presidency, conceived in conceit and dedicated to the proposition that all issues are resolved easily.
Now after engaging in a great civil election, we are testing whether that presidency, or any presidency so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure in office.
Again in 2018 we met as a great nation, come to dedicate ourselves to the memory of that 2016 campaign, as the final resting place for the sense of decency and civility that was there challenged that other honorable candidacies might live. It was altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we could not dedicate — we could not consecrate — we could not hallow — that memory. The brave candidates who struggled then, had consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say now, but it can never forget what they did then. It is for us the citizens, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who challenge him have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from this political ferment we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave their last full measure of political capital — that we here highly resolve that their political fortunes shall not have died in vain — that this nation, beyond Trump, shall have a new birth of honor — and that government of the con man, by the con man, for the common man shall soon perish from the earth.