The start of 2022 has been strange indeed, not only for Europe, but for the entire world, not least of all for the United States. In January and early February a serious affliction was growing much worse in the U.S. and elsewhere. I am not referring to Covid19 but something potentially more deadly—the conviction that there is nothing to like, let alone love, about Democracy, and the determination to dethrone its heroes, discard its founding principles, defund the police, release criminals, and replace Capitalism with Socialism or Communism.
For example, the Manhattan Institute City Journal reported these developments (See NEWSMAX February 2022): “Arizona claiming that babies are racist; Santa Clara County denouncing the United States as a ‘parasitic country’; Philadelphia teaching [students] to celebrate ‘Black Communism; San Diego telling teachers ‘You are racist’; Bank of America teaching that the United States is a ‘system of white supremacy’; Verizon teaching that American is fundamentally racist; and Google teaching that all Americans are ‘raised to be racist.’”
Then in February, Russia made good on its threats to attack Ukraine! At this moment the outcome of that initiative is uncertain. However, common sense suggests the vastly superior Russian army will defeat the Ukrainian defenders. The Ukrainians certainly know that. Even so, President Zelensky and other officials did not flee in fear, as leaders often do, but resolved to lead their citizens in defense of their homeland. They drafted all men 18 and 60 and the men answered the call. Many older men joined them. In Kyiv more than 25,000 automatic rifles and about 10 million bullets were distributed in a short time.
Meanwhile, on Snake island in the Black Sea, 13 Ukrainian border guards were ordered by a Russian warship to leave the island; the guards refused, the warship destroyed the island’s infrastructure, and the guards were reportedly captured when they ran out of ammunition. On the mainland a grandmother, AK-47, in hand, began training in armed combat as she told a reporter, “Your mother would do it too.” Another elderly woman said that if she couldn’t get a gun, she would defend her country with a kitchen knife. Many others made Molotov cocktails to defend their city.
When reports of the Ukrainians bold defense of their country spread, something amazing happened. People around the world, including many Russians, expressed hope and pledged prayers for their success. Vigils and rallies were held in support of them. Governments in Japan, England, Germany, and Australia, among others, offered financial support for their cause. Latvia promised to “close its airspace to Russian-registered airlines for commercial flights.” Poland announced it will boycott their World Cup play-off against Russia. Many companies declared they would no longer do business with Russia.
I am convinced that all the hopes and prayers and vigils and offerings of support are not just a way of “rooting for the underdog,” but also expressions of appreciation to the Ukrainians for demonstrating that the terms noble, patriotic, valorous, gallant, heroic, and self-sacrificing are not meaningless, as mass culture has tried to persuade us. They are hallmarks of being truly human. And no matter how far we have strayed from that understanding, or from practicing what it entails, we are still moved by a nation that is willing to “fight the unbeatable foe,” “bear with unbearable sorrow,” and “right the unrightable wrong.”
Let me be clear. I am not suggesting that Ukrainians are saintly people and that their country is free from corruption. They are imperfect human beings, as we all are. But they are obviously aware of the difference between good and evil, noble and ignoble, and have been willing to defend their country and their loved ones not only with words but with their very lives.
I also believe that the Ukrainians’ heroic response to Russian aggression was prompted by the Holy Spirit. The inspiration surely came with no roll of thunder or deep voice from the heavens, but rather in a quiet whispering to hearts and souls. What was amazing was what it accomplished! After coming to more than 43 million people, it then spread around the world to billions of people of every race, religion, nationality, and culture. The word “miracle” should be reserved for the most awe-inspiring events, and this was one.
I believe, too, that the inspiration God gave to the Ukrainians and their supporters around the world has another dimension. It invites all people to practice in their own countries the same empathy, compassion, and kindness they showed during the Ukrainian tragedy. In the U.S. one important way to do that will be for Americans to regain respect for the people and institutions that mischievous media have conditioned them to hate, including the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, the flag many have died for, and the men and women who continue to keep us safe despite the abuse they often receive for doing so.
Accepting this invitation is not only the most meaningful way to show appreciation for the innumerable blessings this nation has received and many other nations still hope for. It is the most appropriate way for Americans to honor the Ukrainians’ timeless example.
Copyright © 2022 by Vincent Ryan Ruggiero. All rights reserved