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U.S. Polarization Way Down in the Wake of Russia vs. Ukraine

Jeff Hall

Posted on March 19, 2022 21:46

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Have you noticed how little partisan bickering we're hearing these days?

It often takes a common enemy to get two bickering parties to drop the fight for a while.  We're seeing that now in the American response to the plight of the Ukrainians.

It seems the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans and almost all the talking heads on cable TV agree: The Russian attack on the Ukraine is unconscionable and Putin is the bad guy.

There are a few Republican outliers who still seem to think Putin is a great guy. Tucker Carlson is one.  A Republican Congressman, Madison Cawthorn, called Zelensky a "thug" the other day. 

But few seem to be buying this nonsense these days -- even Republicans. Even Donald Trump has gone quiet. 

Maybe he's feeling a little ashamed for having kissed Putin's you-know-what with such vigor. Or maybe he realizes now that holding back military aid from the Ukraine when he did doesn't look so good, in retrospect.

I doubt Trump has much shame; it's more likely he knows he looks dumb for taking the positions he did and he's keeping his head down for now, hoping this storm will pass. 

But facts are stubborn things, as Ronald Reagan used to say. 

If Donald Trump runs for president again, I can just see the ads the Democrats will run, filled with juxtaposed images of slaughtered Ukrainians and Trump calling Putin a genius. 

Do we really want more would-be autocrats running the world? This is a time for cooler heads.

While "Sleepy Joe" Biden doesn't get people too excited with his oratory, I think his "steady as we go, let's listen to our military and diplomatic experts" approach feels like exactly the right one.

I personally would like to see the U.S. and NATO do more to take out the Russian aggressors, but if that led to a nuclear conflict, I'd feel pretty stupid. I might even be dead. So might you. So let's hope this patient approach -- using mostly economic sanctions and PR -- has the intended effect. 

I sure feel sorry for the suffering Ukrainians -- and it's hard to see where this stops if Putin can intimidate the West with Russia's nukes.  If Putin gets the Ukraine, why not the Balkans?

I admire Volodymyr Zelensky.  I am inspired by all the tales on the nightly news of Ukrainians abroad heading back to the homeland to fight. Women and teenagers and old men are learning how to fire a rifle. Their love of country is palpable. 

America is united right now, much as we were in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Pundits predict this can't last, but let's enjoy it while we can. 

Let's hope and pray our politicians see how trivial their normal bickering seems in light of what's going on in the world. We have a country of our own to save.  If we are strong at home, we can be more helpful to those who need it, when they need it.

 

Jeff Hall

Posted on March 19, 2022 21:46

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