Pull Down The Curtain. Again.

More than thirty years back the Soviet Union dissolved…or so we thought.

Fifteen republics broke up into separate countries. But much of the underlying control structures and mentality and motos operendai remained.

We see it functioning just under the surface even today.

For there to be true progress now, the underlying framework and attitudes must be addressed, it all must be dismantled, and the attitudes and approaches must be changed.

Vladimir Putin and his ilk have brought us to the brink of World War III.

We cannot let evil, authoritarian ways prevail. We must stand for freedom and democracy and peace.

We must stand up, and stand together. And pull the curtain down before it goes up. Pull it down for good. Let the Russian people, let the Ukrainian people show us the way.

As a political scientist and historian, I know this is a complicated path, and I know it’s not likely to play out in the manner we want.

As an optimist I can’t hope for any other outcome.

Awash

I can’t really explain it very well. I feel like there’s a LOT going on…

That in some (many?) cases I have to let things fall away…

And sometimes in quite messy form, unfortunately,

And yet I think I’m keeping the main priorities squared away, plates in the air,

And then I wake up, mind spooling up quickly like a turbine,

And I’m awash with anxiety,

In the dark,

At 2 am.

Just saying, just sharing,

Because that’s my way.

And ever more I will go forward,

With the downs and the ups,

The Good and the not so good,

Awash unexpectedly,

But forward all the same.

Come, join me~~~

Russia Invades Ukraine, Day 6

I’m still dumb-founded.

I can’t believe it’s happening.

I can’t believe a former lieutenant colonel in the KGB become president, decided it seemed like a good idea to invade Russia’s plus 1,000 year neighbor / partner in Slavic history.

I thought more of the KGB to this point, thought differently about Putin.

But then, Putin’s military actions in Crimea (previously part of Ukraine) and Ingushetia were likely sufficient foreshadow.

And now I talk to a friend in the Donbas, Ukraine…she’s become a very strong Ukrainian nationalist it seems;

And I talk to a friend in Pennsylvania formerly of Donbas — her heart is split with this violence;

And I talk to a friend in Moscow who can only hope family in Ukraine is ok, sad, unsure.

And all this, my intellect and understanding can fathom and find the paths that have brought us to this point,

But my heart? It just aches, as well.

Hearts Torn, But Somehow Hopeful

As war now rages in Ukraine on the fourth day since Russia invaded its neighbor to the south, there is a pit in my stomach that won’t go away.

My relationship with Russia and Ukraine goes back decades, before the collapse of the Soviet Union. My particular connection to Ukraine is founded in Donetsk. I still consider the Russians/Ukrainians I met, knew, lived with to be friends, even if I haven’t talked to them in many years. I did talk to one such friend recently, just after the Russian invasion began. She is originally from Donetsk, but has resided now for many years in the states.

It was so good to connect with her, to hear news of her family, both in Russia and Ukraine, to hear her perspective on this horrible circumstance. But of course the conversation was also heart-wrenching. My heart aches for her, for her family, for other friends we both have still living in both countries, for the tragedy of these misguided times.

She wrote to me soon after our conversation, openly and beautifully about her growing up in the then Soviet Union. How her family is a mix of Russians and Ukrainians. How she grew up with both languages, both cultures, completely intertwined. She explained how the three primary languages she speaks are tainted by the others. She explained, “My English has some Slavic tang to it. My native tongue, Russian, has distinctly soft “g” and peppered with Ukrainian words and phrases. My Ukrainian is mixed with Russian colloquialisms.  Mixed, just like most of the other people speaking these languages.”

And how her head feels like it will explode, her heart torn in two…

Her story must be the story of tens of thousands, maybe millions of mixed Russians and Ukrainians.

And yet now because of bravado or misguided geopolitical calculation or a longing of a political order long gone, Russia has invaded Ukraine. Russians are killing Ukrainians. Ukrainians are killing Russians. These two peoples so intertwined over a thousand years of history…

And clearly the underlying humanity has been lost. Or has it?

Maybe this moment demands the very fabric that brings these two peoples together, that it is now being torn in two, hearts torn in two…

It’s not too late to stop this madness. We must. All well-meaning people, and especially Russians and Ukrainians.

Otherwise what is left?

What is left otherwise are Ukrainians (many of whom no doubt have Russian in their lineage) fighting to defend their country against Russians (many of whom no doubt have Ukrainian in their lineage), Russians fooled by their government that Ukraine is somehow a threat,

And I can only hope that the world responds with resolve to end the violence; that the Ukrainians can hold their ground, remain steadfast, determined;

that everyday Russians can see through the lies and somehow make their government stop, somehow find the resolve they found thirty one years ago,

That perhaps even the Russian government can see the folly of this ill-advised transgression, step back from further catastrophe, death, and destruction, though somehow I don’t think this is much possible but,

I remain hopeful somehow, even as my heart aches for my friend, for Ukrainians and Russians,

I remain hopeful for wiser, more clear-headed, well-meaning minds to find their humanity again, and find common ground and understanding, let understanding prevail before it’s too late,

Let it not be too late,

Let it not be too late.

As my friend told me,

“in my heart it is Russia Ukraine. In my heart they are inseparable. No politician, no war will ever pull that apart for me and many others. In my heart they are ONE. On genetic level. On human level. My family, my friends… in both countries – ONE in my heart and soul.”

,

Black History Month 2022: Elevating Black Voices, Paused, Due to Land War in Europe

Delighted to have posted so many voices of African Americans, et. al. to elevate their voices, their perspectives, the fundamental cause I believe is needed in these United States to move toward racial equality, across all sectors, spheres.

And now Full Stop.

Russia invaded Ukraine on 02/24/2022.

That story needs to be elevated now.

Black History Month 2022: Code Switch – Can Therapy Solve Racism?

This show gives a lot of important insights on racism; I found this particular episode especially insightful.

Take a listen; worth your time while you do the dishes or fold the laundry.

one.npr.org/i/1080901973:1080980891

This podcast? Always worth it.

Black History Month 2022: Bill Russell

Before MJ, before LeBron, Koby, Larry, Steph, et. al., there was Bill Russell.

University of San Francisco Dons.

Boston Celtics.

2 National championships as a college player; 10 championships as a professional player.

Hard worker, intelligent player, dominant player who came up when racism was overpowering the country.

Thanks for showing us the way, Bill.

Black History Month 2022: Billie Holiday

A voice like no other, a lady who shined sublime on stage, overcame difficulties and demons, Billie Holiday.

She played with the jazz greats, like Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and others.

She had many hit songs, including the controversial “Strange Fruit”.

She has a unique place in the great history of jazz music, an inspired voice and performer, cut down too soon by alcohol and drug abuse.

Her voice lives on, amen amen.

“Strange Fruit” here: https://youtu.be/-DGY9HvChXk

A Wiki-summary here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billie_Holiday?wprov=sfti1

Black History Month 2022: Clerow “Flip” Wilson

“The devil made me do it…!”

And…

“What you see is what you get…!”

So said “Geraldine”, one of the several characters Clerow “Flip”Wilson created to deliver his comedy.

One of the funniest people I ever heard. One of the best smiles, one of the brightest personalities…”Flip” Wilson.

First African-American Host of a TV Variety Show. He won a couple Emmy Awards for it.

He also won a Grammy for his comedy album, “The Devil Made Me Buy This Dress.”

He was an early trailblazer for African-Americans in a White entertainment world that existed at the time…and he dominated, beloved by millions.

“The Devil…“, listen below for the marque bit.

https://youtu.be/5kaiLcwHXB4

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flip_Wilson?wprov=sfti1