It’s possible that everything that needs to be said about Ukraine has already been said. But all of us must raise our voices. The destruction, the slaughter, and the fire are horrifying. The images are heart wrenching.
My first response to the invasion could have been one of the most selfish things I’ve ever felt: “We had 5 years of Donald Trump making hatred cool, then 2 years of the worst pandemic in 100 years, and now this. How much can I take?” There’s no need for me to explain the egoistic basis of this. However, I do find I must monitor how much I take in, and I would advise all sensitive people to do the same. What I can do in terms of support, I do.
Volodomyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin are such different men that one might think they are different species. Zelensky is 44, Putin is almost 20 years older. One evolved from a comic to a president; the other evolved from a KGB agent to a president. Zelensky’s moral compass is finely tuned, while Putin has no regard for human lives other than his own. Regarding Donald Trump’s slavish regard for Putin – was he fooled by Putin or was he afraid of him?
When we take the measure of a person, we don’t talk much about character. We talk about personality – whether they are introverted or extroverted, and how well they relate. We talk a lot about looks – are they good looking or not, fat or thin, young or old. We talk about political persuasions – are they left or right, progressive or conservative. Character, however, has nothing to do with any of this.
Character is how a person behaves when no one is looking. Character is not how a person treats their boss, but how they treat the server or the flight attendant. Character is inclusiveness, not exclusiveness, as in I’m in and you’re out. Character is humility, which is very different from low self-esteem. Character is honesty and generosity. Character is compassion.
When we consider offering someone regard or respect, or elevating them to positions of power, the example of Zelensky vs Putin should offer us pause.