The optimists amongst us felt Covid would bring us all together. For the first time in ages, the entire world was in the same boat, fighting the same enemy. A global pandemic meant survival was at stake. Inevitably, it became another political fight and tribal dividing line; personal rights vs the common good.
To witness every country take a stand against Vladimir Putin and Putin’s war (not the Russian people) has been awe-inspiring. Finally, real evil is exposing itself.
We are way beyond minor grievances that show up as micro-aggressions and culture wars privileged people find time to argue about in editorials and on Twitter.
Too many of us are cowardly in our personal lives: we don’t speak up; we don’t change course from a wrong path; we become complacent and lazy; we let people in our personal lives take advantage of our goodwill; we walk away to avoid confrontation, etc… But this reflects on us at an individual level.
When there’s another person or another life at stake, like a small child or animal, we find ourselves called to action. Isn’t it interesting how we often care for others better than we care for ourselves? Sad and true. It appears we need something outside of our innate selfishness to harness an ingrain good.
We are a resilient lot, especially when our survival is at stake. Most of us will never know what it truly means to be in survival mode; when absolutely every comfort and foundation is stripped away; when there is nowhere to turn because there is chaos all around you. To witness Russians protest against their own regime knowing they’ll be imprisoned is brave. To witness Ukrainian men stay behind to fight while their families flee is beyond courageous. Though they have no choice, as they may have no country if they don’t. Sometimes we need others around to buttress against our own lack of bravery. Strength in numbers. We are witnessing the true strength in numbers as mass demonstrations in every major city, in every country outside of Russia, take to the streets. The collective good is powerful. It chokes up the throat. There is real evil in the world. Finally, people are waking up.
Moments make a man, and this is the moment for men and for countries. The collective power of a populace is even more powerful, though.
Evil is live spelled backwards. This makes sense, as darkness is to light. Evil will always exist. It will never be expunged by one war or one dictator’s death. It is our forever war. The ability to do harm and commit acts of evil lives within each of us. The ability to effect positive change and act bravely is within us as well. The stakes are much higher now, because the weapons and technology are much more sophisticated. Everything can be over in a second. Life is precious.
Covid only slightly reconfigured our priorities; brought us face to face with how matters closest to home needed to be addressed. Putin is not only at war with Ukraine, but with the West and Western ideals. The collective democratic pushback and collective demonstrations against him fill me with hope where Covid changes left off. Most of us are ordinary. This historical moment is extraordinary. Heroes are not born; they are made.