There is a certain comedian who came up with the catchphrase “Here’s your sign.” He was pretty funny, actually. However, there is a not so funny application of that phrase.
We live in interesting times. It is true that people have thought that since the beginning of civilization. However, we are now more interconnected and informed about current events than ever before. What I see when I look at current events is the classic struggle between good and evil—or as I like to characterize it: compassion and selfishness.
Of course, the most glaring current example of this is the war between Russia and Ukraine. It has been dubbed “Putin’s war” for good reason. He has long been enamored with the idea of rebuilding the Russian empire and its latest incarnation, the Soviet Union. Toward that end he has manipulated the situation and lied to his people to gain their support for this endeavor. In fact, since his ascension to power he has shown himself to be a typical dictator in the model of Stalin—imprisoning and murdering his political opponents; and without the pesky communist notions of collective ownership, has used his ruthless tactics to (probably) become the richest man in the world.
Zelensky, on the other hand, was elected as the “anti-corruption” candidate and has shown himself to be a person of integrity and bravery.
It is difficult to watch the images we see every day of the devastation and suffering the Russian attack is causing in Ukraine and not be moved. Compassion means “suffering with”. I can’t watch these images and not get a pain in my gut. This is why we see so many efforts across the world to help. All compassionate people hope for an end to hostilities and pray that the rest of the world doesn’t get sucked into a devastating war.
So—Here’s your sign: When you look deep into your soul do you stand with the lying bully Putin, or with his victims—the valiant people of Ukraine? And, having made that determination, do you generalize that decision to other lying bullies? Or, to put it a different way: Do you live your life with the notion that all people have the right life liberty and the pursuit of happiness; or do you prefer the selfish life—lying and cheating your way to get what you want?
I’ll give you a hint. A long time ago a very wise man suggested we should all live our life based on the bedrock of truth and reality—and compassion. The decision-making process you use here also applies to every other area of life–for example, how you treat your neighbor, your family, people that are somehow different than you and even (maybe especially) what political candidate you vote for. Is that person a lying, manipulating bully or a person of integrity and compassion?
I don’t care what your religious beliefs are. But I can tell you that ALL bullies like Putin eventually fall. They eventually fall because their “empire” is not based on reality; just on raw, temporary power. Martin Luther King said, “The arc of history is long, but bends toward justice.” I choose to believe he was right.