Politicians on the world stage spend a great deal of time side-stepping problems that are apparent to almost all of us. Vietnam was like that until Lyndon Johnson finally faced reality. A whole nation of anti-war protesters were absolutely right before the president had a change of heart. Civil rights went that way, too. Racists were murdering and lynching people with distressing regularity in the Deep South, but the people who put their hearts and lives on the line for civil rights knew about that evil long before the “system” stepped up with some remedies.
The world has been watching the Russian military commit war crimes all across Ukraine, and the proof is as apparent as the photos of the dead babies and children, the old men and women, the good people who were in the wrong place when the cruise missiles and the crushing rocket volleys landed close enough to blast the blessed life out of them. We all know who was responsible for that. I don’t know what is wrong with Vladimir Putin, but he has completely erased the line between good and evil, the line that once made him a post-Soviet curiosity. He has stepped deep into evil territory.
Haven’t you told yourself so many times over the past few weeks that he had to go, that something had to happen to force him from power? I know I have. I have prayed to see him leave, die, get carried off by his own angry soldiers. Whatever it would take. But who am I? Essentially nobody, just a person who sits in a room in a suburb of Chicago trying to write about what is obvious to most of us.
But it’s different when the President of the United States says Putin can ‘t stay in office. Joe Biden did that and it sent a shock wave through the diplomatic community, where hatreds are boiled down to mere dislikes in the interest of keeping everything calm. I have always been uncomfortable with that, with diplomacy’s way of turning everything into something that can be described in meek language, so we all sound balanced and okay.
We are not balanced and okay, not this time, and I would argue we shouldn’t be.
Read Biden’s comments and tell me if you disagree.
The fact that people immediately tried to roll back on his rhetoric is only a measure of the truth the president spoke. You may not like Joe Biden at all, but in my circle, people have been asking for weeks why someone can’t get rid of Putin and the thugs who surround him. Biden just came out and said what everyone has been thinking, indeed, hoping.
Expect a media shit show in the wake of this, because that’s what always happens. Many thoughtful policy wonks, conservative Republicans, name your type, will jump up over the next few days and decry Biden for saying what they all know in their hearts is the truth.
Even the Fox people are going to have to face this.
What Joe Biden said may not have been diplomatic, but it was right.
And that carries a lot more weight with commoners like me who are praying for something to happen that will end this extended massacre of innocent victims.
I don’t know that Biden’s comments will have any impact at all on the Russians, who seem to be living in their own hermetically sealed universe that is free of any truth but the “truth” created by a propaganda machine that has been cranking out bullshit for decades.
But it keeps us where we need to be, on the side of the better angels.