Opinion

I Don’t Care About Ukraine

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Posted: Mar 28, 2022 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
I Don’t Care About Ukraine

Source: AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

OK OK, I’ll start off by admitting that was a bit of a clickbait headline (but still, thanks for clicking and thanks in advance - as always - for reading!). I do care about Ukraine and Ukrainians, at least in a metaphysical, overarching, ‘peace on earth,’ ‘suffering is bad,’ sort of way, the kind of feelings humans are reflexively supposed to have about humanity in general. No sane, non-psychopath wants to see people suffer. Ideally, I’d love to see Ukrainians prosperous, happy, and at peace, just as I’d like to see the rest of the planet. But I’ll admit I’m not exactly losing any sleep over it either, and that lies at the root of the provocative headline.

I suppose the closest comparison is how I felt when confronted with images of emaciated, suffering Ethiopians as a child. Remember that whole “eat your dinner because starving Ethiopians would love to have what’s on your plate right now, blah blah blah” spiel we all probably got in some form or fashion from our parents growing up? Sure, the images from those Sally Struthers commercials were sad, but it’s not like I cried like I did when my grandparents died, and I certainly didn’t eat that disgusting boiled cabbage my mom made sometimes. (I’m not sure she ever packed it up and sent it to them, but I’m pretty sure I told her she was welcome to more than once.)

That’s the thing about suffering. Humans just aren’t equipped to process all of the awful things that happen to every other human being on the planet. And that’s a good thing, given just how much suffering is going on right now. Upwards of 150,000 people die every single day from a gazillion awful causes, including the more than three dozen wars and armed conflicts taking place this very moment. All of those deaths, to one degree or another, involve a tremendous amount of suffering on the part of both the deceased as well as those who love them. Imagine how awful it would be to have to emotionally feel the pain felt by the families of all those people, day after day, every single day?

We don’t feel that pain because we can’t, and that’s a good thing because if we could it would drive us crazy. Instead, as we should, we care about our loved ones first, then our friends, then those in our community, then our country, and on out from there. At least that’s how it’s supposed to be. But what happens when outside forces interject to upend this natural order? Why do so many Americans deeply care, or at least say they deeply care, about what’s going on in Ukraine right now? We all know the answer, of course. In terms of the hierarchy of ‘caring,’ things directly in front of us get placed above things that aren’t. 

Sure, most of us probably didn’t lose sleep over those starving Ethiopians, but the fact that Struthers put their plight in front of millions of Americans ultimately led to millions of dollars of aid. Good for her, and them! But what happens when the coverage is 24/7 and almost entirely slanted in favor of one view of what would otherwise be a very ‘gray area’ issue? Media, especially when it’s unified, has the remarkable capability to manipulate impressionable consumers into supporting whatever cause du jour that bolsters the agenda they want to push. And yes, judging by what has relentlessly dominated our media airwaves over the past month, it’s no wonder everyone has such strong opinions about what’s going on in Ukraine.

That’s right. If you agree wholeheartedly with the mainline view of Russian vs Ukraine, you’re likely being manipulated, just as, granted, millions of Russians are doubtless being manipulated by their own state-run media. The truth, however, likely lies somewhere in between the two narratives of Ukraine as sorely in need of the kind of “denazification” and “peacekeeping” only total conquest and leveling a few cities for good measure will accomplish and Ukraine as a plucky democracy whose non-corrupt, non-authoritarian leadership did absolutely nothing wrong or non-provocative toward Russia.

Meanwhile, mainline Democrats and bloodthirsty neocons in this country are perfectly content to ‘wage war’ on Russia from their comfortable armchairs until the very last Ukrainian is dead and the country is a heaping pile of ruins. Instead of helping to negotiate an end to hostilities or  (unwisely) going all-in with the manpower necessary to actually defeat Russia, the West sends just enough weapons to keep the war - and the deaths - going indefinitely. Where’s the morality or humanity in that? 

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Do Ukrainian lives matter? Of course, they do! Just as much as mine or yours or anyone else’s. But what is it about this very avoidable conflict (avoidable on BOTH ends) that elicits such strong emotions? Why is it that you find yourself all of a sudden in lockstep with the likes of Adam Kinzinger, Liz Cheney, Lindsey Graham, virtually all mainline Democrats, and freaking GEORGE SOROS on this issue? Don’t you find that just a bit creepy and unnerving?

If you read this column regularly, you probably voted for Donald Trump in one or both of the last two presidential elections. You also likely know that Trumpism is about avoiding war, not fomenting it, fighting proxy wars, and flirting with World War III. Given media bias & manipulation and the unavoidable fog of war, it’s impossible to know what the exact truth is on any aspect of the Ukraine / Russia conflict or even if we’ll ever truly find out. Nevertheless, I feel fairly comfortable saying with a fair degree of certainty that alignment with the aforementioned creeps is the exact opposite of MAGA.

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