“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle
I watched a video this afternoon that came from a mall that I assume was somewhere outside Kiev. A man was riding up an escalator and suddenly he turned to the crowd eating in the food court below and yelled out SLAVA UKRAINI (Glory to Ukraine). The crowd below returned his cry and it was one of the coolest and inspiring things I’ve seen on Youtube. This sent me on a journey of introspection today about why I have been so captivated by the horrors and triumphs in Ukraine. What I found will upset some of you but my prayer is that many of you can take something from what I have to say.
The simplest answer I came to after talking to my dad this afternoon is I crave that level of national unity. I never really thought myself to be a nationalist but I guess in a lot of ways I am.
I am so inspired by these people who stand up for what they believe, like a raging fire on a windy night refusing to be extinguished. They are one voice calling out and will not be ignored. We in America have not been that for a very long time. We have become complacent in our freedoms and no longer care to exercise them. We would rather accept a government bribe for our rights than fight to maintain them.
Unfortunately, this has become the most glaring in my generation. To be quite honest I am disgusted by my own generation. How can I stand with my generation in one national voice when we can’t even agree on what basic morals are? Perhaps we could sit down and figure this whole thing out except my generation is too busy. We are too busy with Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber’s new haircut. We are too busy with drug and alcohol fueled weekends on the coast; and most importantly we are too busy with chasing money to give a damn about the soul of this country or any other for that matter.
I have been looking at comparisons over the last few days and what I am seeing gives me almost no hope for my generation. I see my generation sitting around bitching and moaning about the price of vodka and demanding that we drop the drinking age and legalize pot. Meanwhile, at that very second a seventeen year old in Ukraine is stacking rocks and filling that same vodka bottle with gasoline to protect himself and his friends from a government hellbent on silencing him. I see my generation unable to get their butts out of bed to make it church on Sunday morning because “dude the club was so sick last night.” That very same Ukrainian teenager is praying with a priest as rubber and lead bullets ricochet around them. He has stood for months on end in the cold and snow for a shot at democracy — back in America my generation complains that it’s too cold to go and vote.
That seventeen year old is in the street fighting and dying for rights that he can only dream about. My generation is so backwards most of them don’t even know the four fundamental rights our FIRST AMENDMENT gives them. The same rights that this teenager is bleeding out in the street for in Ukraine.
Even though I didn’t want to, I watched quite a few of those public funerals that are happening at the Maiden in the last few days. I did it because it taught me so much about liberty and made me so thankful for who and where I am. I was very guilty of taking my blessings for granted as well. But after seeing what I saw on the various live feeds from Kiev I can tell you I will not be again.
So why am I so interested and captivated by Ukraine and her people’s struggle against oppressors. It’s simple, I want to know what it’s like to be apart of that level of nationalist unity. To have enough faith to get out in the street and say this is wrong and no matter what happens tomorrow we will be right here crying out to whoever will listen that this is wrong and we will not be silenced.
Finally, I had to come to one sad and incontrovertible truth. I have lost faith in my generation and our ability to do anything when the day might come that we need to. I have lost faith in America and her ability to sustain a moral and righteous group of free people. John Adams said, “Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” That ladies and gentlemen is where we are at and I fear there is no coming back.
This doesn’t mean I will ever stop fighting for what America is supposed to be. What I am looking for is a few in my generation that still recognize that we are called not just by God but by our blessed heritage as Americans to do great things, not just here but abroad. However we must first attempt to rebuild America. Although we will not be shot at, thank God, you will be an outcast to your peers. They will tell you that you are a bigot and a fool. But in the end we must hold to the incontrovertible ideas that we know to be truths. Who will stand with me?
So am I borderline obsessed with whats going on in Kiev? Hell yes, because it makes me believe that one day my future kids and I will witness Americans crying out “Glory to America”.
Image: Courtesy of: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/17/ukrainian-president-anti-protest-laws