“We stand for freedom, for our rights, for social independence, for democracy, for freedom of speech, for everything, for a normal life,” she told The Associated Press from her hospital bed in Kiev. Excerpt from interview with Olesya Zhukovska
The words of this young woman, an ordinary Ukrainian citizen, a paramedic, should strike a chord with every American. They should give us pause, to stop and think about how precious these rights are. Right now in the Ukraine everyday people, most of them young, and middle class, are willing to die for them. I’ve listened to and read the interviews of these courageous people. I am amazed, and shamed by them. Amazed at their bravery and tenacity, shamed that they are willing to die for what we take for granted.
Sadly, we don’t just take these rights, rights protected by the Constitution, for granted, we are actually begging for them to be taken away. We ask the federal government to take away our sovereign right to bear arms. We look the other way when the FCC wants to monitor our newsrooms. We allow the IRS, a bureaucracy created to impose taxes on us, to dictate our health care. Is there any logic to that? We are happy to trade our personal freedom for a life free from worry or want. Let the government take care of us, just so long as we do not have to assume responsibility for our own lives. We willingly elect to office men and women more interested in increasing their own power and pocketbooks than meeting the needs of their constituencies. If we go to the polls at all, we choose candidates whose names we recognize, who are the best looking, the person our mother told us to vote for, or someone promising more free stuff. We are gullible and believe pretty speeches. We don’t expect our press to thoroughly vet our candidates and we don’t demand excellence from our leaders. We settle for men and women of lesser integrity lest we have to look too deeply at ourselves.
Meanwhile, half a world away there are those who are prepared to die for what we are happily throwing away. The very rights that generations of our own young men (and women, too) have fought and died to preserve. The rights that our Founders painstakingly preserved in our Constitution, that we might be a shining example of what a nation can become when its people are free. The kind of nation that the Ukrainian protesters are trying to create for themselves.
Yes, we should be ashamed