A mentor of mine often told me “the veneer of civilization is very thin”. He was a Russian native whose father was killed by Stalin.The horrendous events in Ukraine illustrate just how fragile human institutions are. We have much to be thankful for in the USA. What is at risk for Ukraine and other parts of the world is civilization and one of its greatest accomplishments - democracy.
What the human race has built, developed or discovered is remarkable. Each of us is on this mortal plane for a short time, yet look at our accumulated inheritance. Some of the most precious of our accomplishments is finding a way to govern ourselves. It has been said that democracy is the most costly form of government. It may well be. It takes a great deal of discussion, study and experiment to build and maintain a governmental system successfully respecting the needs and wants for as many as possible.
Perhaps one outcome from the tragedy of present day events in Ukraine is that we think carefully about our present experiment in democracy. One thing we can do is learn something from this present day disaster. We can work to ensure that there is energetic discussion on all levels of government about including the greatest number in our population in the process of self government. We must not allow apathy to work against active citizen participation.
We can take inspiration from the millions of people acting and speaking out on the subject of anti-democracy. We can take heart in the response of the people of the European Union by welcoming more that one and a half million refugees in ten days. Hungary and Poland, both countries that have experienced tyranny, are leading the way.
The western world has become unified in opposing this anti-democratic war with sanctions. Our public and our government is working to contribute to this effort. Over time, when we make adjustments in our budgets and time to help with this effort, we might think back to the sacrifices of the total mobilization the US undertook to successfully bring WWII to an end. Food and fuel was rationed across the nation, industries were converted to armament production. It is little known that every hotel building across the country was measured and the plans filed away perchance they might help in the war effort. Nothing of that magnitude is likely to be required of us - however, we all must do what we can to preserve and restore democracy to Ukraine.