I went back and forth on what to write about this week. Initially, I wanted to write about why the Republican Party had to start distancing itself from Nick Fuentes and people of his ilk. Fuentes is an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier who gained a large following on social media and YouTube. At his big conference this weekend, Fuentes led everyone in a round of applause for Russia, and the crowd chanted, “Putin, Putin!” This would be a mere sideshow if it were not for the appearance of Republican Representatives Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Green. They appeared at this white nationalist conference, not only giving it their stamp of approval but also convincing many middle-of-the-road voters that the GOP as a whole supports such nonsense.
CBS pushed Greene on her appearance, and she said she does not support white nationalism and knew nothing about Fuentes or his views. If you believe that, I have a timeshare I would like you to invest in. Congresswoman Greene then went on to complain that the people who had a problem with her appearing on stage with an open anti-Semite were participating in “cancel culture,” which has become FoxNews’s version of a Sunday School answer.
While the GOP’s failure to distance itself from open racism is maddeningly frustrating, the bigger issue on our plates this week is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I teach 9th and 10th grade, and my students have wanted to talk about this a lot over the past week. Particularly, they want to know who is right and if the United States will get involved. These are both important questions, and one is more easily answered than the other.
Any time one nation transgresses another nation’s borders in an unprovoked attack, the aggressor is wrong and should face the full-throated condemnation of the freedom-loving world. Ukraine is a sovereign nation with the right to territorial integrity. They have a democratically-elected President, and they should have the leader they chose rather than a puppet regime enforced on them at gunpoint.
Many observers expect that this invasion will show the Russian military is poorly led and poorly trained, which will lead to an international embarrassment for their egomaniacal dictator. Putin’s regime has already exposed itself as blood-thirsty and power-hungry, but now it will also demonstrate that the emperor has no clothes. And while I love to see the proud get humbled as much as anyone, this should not happen at the expense of thousands of Russian and Ukrainian lives.
Whether the United States should get involved, and to what extent, is a different matter. This is a difficult decision, and it has made me thankful that I don’t have Joe Biden’s job. There is no doubt that he should use every megaphone at his disposal to decry the invasion of a free and peaceful nation. We should also find every lever we can to punish Putin financially and politically – freeze assets, close airspace, and send diplomats home. Hopefully, these steps cripple the Russians in the eyes of the world and send a message without needing to resort to military force.
There is the larger question of why we should care. If you listen to some large conservative media outlets, you would think that concern about the future of Ukraine is overblown and ridiculous. What is mind-blowing is to hear this coming from people who grew up in the 1970s and 80s. We know what it means to see freedom and democracy conquer totalitarianism. We saw the Iron Curtain fall and the emergence of new governments that were by, of, and for the people.
This brings us back to the GOP playing footsie with white nationalists. Our founders sat down in the summer of 1776 and listed a few self-evident truths – namely that all men are created equal and that the Creator endowed them with rights the government ought to protect, like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This means that people from every race, ethnic group, language, and corner of the world deserve to be free. They should be able to choose their own governments, worship according to their conscience, speak freely, and debate tough ideas.
The United States is not defined by race, color, or creed; it is defined by an idea. It is an idea that we believe applies to every person in every place. Nations founded on this idea provide people with more freedom, more happiness, and more prosperity. This is why we oppose white nationalism at home and Russian military aggression abroad.
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
Photo courtesy: ©Dovile Ramoskaite/Unsplash
Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”