She’s a young woman in her twenties: smart, energetic, empathetic, self-sufficient, a quick learner.
She’s a full-time medical assistant and part-time babysitter working for lousy pay to support herself and save for medical school.
She sits on the couch, crying.
Not because of the twelve hour days. Not because of the stress of preparing for the MCAT. Not because of the long drives to the small home in Northeast Philly to visit her little siblings.
Nope. She is crying because her countrymen are being blown-up, shot up, cut-up, and slaughtered by Vladimir Putin.
This young woman and her family immigrated to the US from Ukraine when she was nine and her older brother was eleven— six years before her sister was born, seven years before her twin brothers were born. She was raised in rural Ukraine by her grandfather (who died just a few months ago) and her grandmother. Her parents had to find work in separate nations to feed the family.
Sixteen years later she is well-educated, hard-working, thoughtful, kind, and ambitious. She doesn’t have a shred of an accent.
What she does have is a visceral and ethereal bond with her birth country. What she does have is relatives trapped in Ukraine. What she does have is zero— not a prayer’s chance in Hell— of helping them or any of her countrymen. What she does have is a smartphone where she can watch the destruction of a peaceful, beautiful country, while helpless to do anything about it.
So she cries.
She cries while missiles fly and bombs fall, while Putin’s 190,000 troops surround, smash, and smother a country that has never done a thing to harm Russia or Putin— except feed them from it’s bountiful farmland— while politicians from the US and Europe furrow their brows at polls and probabilities, and shrink from their human responsibility to stop the Hitler wannabe.
She cries while Putin thumps his chest and threatens Europe just as Hitler did in 1938. She cries while Putin duplicates Hitler’s attack on Czechoslovakia which led to WWII. She cries while Europe and the US apply Chamberlain-like diplomacy.
She cries while the former President of her new country marvels at Putin’s “genius”, while ratings king Tucker Carlson turns up his snotty little nose at Ukraine and Ukrainians.
She cries while you and I worry about the price of gas, how much vegetables will cost, and if Major League Baseball will open its season on-time. She cries while Americans argue over how to cherry-pick history, as Ukrainian civilians line up for AK-47’s they don’t yet know how to fire, creating history LIVE and on camera. She cries when Ukrainian marine Vitaly Skakun blows up himself and the bridge he’s standing on to block Russian troops at least for awhile.
She cries because she can’t do anything else.
If that disturbs you as much as it does me, here’s an idea: if you know anyone like this young woman or people from any other countries under Putin’s threat, call them and let them know you care, offer help if they lack anything, or just a shoulder if they don’t.
Find legitimate places to send help to Ukraine and the 50,000 who have already escaped and thousands more who will flow to countries bordering Ukraine.
Help those who eventually make it to the US.
And tell Carlson, Trump and their soulless buddies what the troops on Ukraine’s Snake Island told the Russian ship that ordered them to surrender or die: “Go F**K Yourself!”
It’s the response our military heroes have given to enemies from the Revolution forward.
It’s the response we should all give.
It’s the response this young woman would give if she had any alternative. But she doesn’t. So after a day of work, of studying, of babysitting, she sits on her couch.