It’s a long journey from the US to Ukraine, which now feels ever more arduous due to the inability to fly directly into the country. As I returned to Ukraine after 14 days in DC and traveling across the US rallying support for the Ukrainian war effort, I didn’t expect anything could make the travel feel significantly shorter. That is until I learned that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was heading to Washington for a sit-down with President Joe Biden. Following their meeting, he would give a triumphant address to a joint session of Congress.
After guiding his nation from Kyiv in the face of a full-scale Russian invasion, including one day so perilous he was offered a flight out but chose to stay and fight, Zelenskyy’s stateside sojourn made all other travels pale in comparison. By restoring his ability to conduct foreign visits, the Ukrainian leader telegraphed to the world the confidence he has in his country’s ability to conclusively vanquish the Russian threat. Furthermore, making the United States of America his first official destination signified the unbreakable bond between two bastions of liberty and freedom.
Zelenskyy’s trip was as significant for America as it was for Ukraine with lawmakers of both Houses being able to bask in the glow of the United States’ greatest foreign policy success since World War II. Yet, despite this courageous act by Zelenskyy, one which holds even greater magnitude when contrasted with the diminishing stature of Putin on the world stage, the same empty, hollow neo-fascist voices of the American right attempted to appear relevant during this historic moment.
Donald Trump Jr. invoked Ronald Reagan’s infamous “welfare queen” line when commenting on President Zelenskyy’s visit. The dated trope, which was used to great effect in the 1970s by Reagan, was woefully off the mark in this case. In supporting Zelenskyy, and every Ukrainian, in the battle for liberation against Putin’s war criminals, a relatively nominal sum being granted by the US to Ukraine for the effort has resulted in a staggering return on investment, one which has seen a multi-generational enemy of America’s value system become crippled militarily and economically.
Another pathetically weak and putrid line used to describe Zelenskyy came from Tucker Carlson. In labeling the bold Ukrainian leader a “strip club manager,” Carlson exposed his barren capacity for intellectual discourse. relating to the most significant global crisis since 1945. While Carlson has made a significant sum of money defending Zelenskky’s attempted extortionist, Donald J. Trump, over the last 7 years, he’s proven his inability or unwillingness to fairly assess Zelenskky’s leadership in facing down pervasive and overwhelming evil. We are living through the most significant global crisis since 1945, and Carlson is proving himself to be either shockingly ignorant or willfully deceptive.
Another of Moscow’s favorite media personalities, Tulsi Gabbard, simply lied when speaking about the Zelenskyy visit. In an apparent effort to confirm suspicions that she’s a Russian plant, the former Congresswoman claimed that Zelenskyy was attempting to shut down Ukraine’s largest church while in the same breath labeling him an autocrat. The truth is simple. Zelenskyy allowed raids to take place at several criminal enterprises which used the Russian Orthodox Church as a front. As for being an autocrat, Ukraine’s unicameral parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, not only continues to assemble and pass laws but can strip the President of his extraordinary governing authority at regular intervals.
In attacking a visitor to the world’s greatest Republic, a man standing up to tyranny and totalitarianism, Carlson, Gabbard, their ilk, and their acolytes have again exposed themselves to be charlatans at their best and traitors at their worst.
I’m writing this, having arrived in Kyiv just hours ago. The results of Russia’s continued attacks on civilian infrastructure were apparent as I drove hundreds of miles through blackouts, past the fertile fields of Europe’s breadbasket, to arrive at the capital city of democracy’s resistance. In preparing to resume my own active military service, I not only thought about President Zelenskyy’s journey and my own but that we and many others are literally fighting for the right to allow aspersions and falsehoods like those above to be cast.
And that’s okay; that’s the point. In fighting for freedom, we fight for all freedoms in solidarity with our partner nations committed to democracy. We do this with the understanding that no matter how our enemies try, liberty and democracy will never fall under the sword of fascism or genuflect to the words of a theocrat.