Poor President Zelenskyy. He doesn’t just have to take risks constant assassination attempts and an attempt by the Russian military to take over all of his country. Moreover, when he addresses his friends and allies, he seems to delude himself that we are something we are not.
On Wednesday morning when the The President of Ukraine addressed the US Congress he tried to address the Americans. He spoke of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and 9/11. And he tried to invoke the basic ideals of this country.
He said, “Like everyone else in the United States, I remember your national monument at Rushmore, the faces of your prominent presidents, those who laid the foundation for the United States of America as it is today.”
The note was touching, but completely outdated. Apparently, President Zelenskyy does not realize that America has been trying to rid itself of these founding figures in recent years. Statues of Jefferson, Washington, and Lincoln were torn down across the country. Just last November Thomas Jefferson was packed into a crate and humiliatingly wheeled out the back door of the New York Council Chamber.
Stay with this town just the other week Statue of Theodore Roosevelt was dragged away in the middle of the night from its position in front of the American Museum of Natural History. And who can forget how CNN’s correspondent described Mount Rushmore a few Independence Day weekends ago. According to CNN, Mount Rushmore is “a memorial to two slave owners” that stands on “land reclaimed from Native Americans.”
It’s wonderful that Zelensky admires America’s fundamentals. But the country and the politicians he spoke to do not seem to share this admiration. In fact, they seem to be actively trying to shake off the story Zelensky was invoking.
The Ukrainian also referred to Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, unaware that this generation of Americans was busy reversing King’s dream. So much so that today we live in a society that is not color blind like Dr. King has hoped, but very color conscious.
President Zelenskyy made the same mistake the week before when he spoke to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. There he made another powerful speech, appealing to what he imagined on that occasion to be the character of the British Parliament and its people. He quoted Winston Churchill and his World War II speech on resistance to the Nazis. “We will fight to the end,” Zelenskyj said. “At sea, in the air. We will continue to fight for our country, whatever the cost.”
The lower house stood up in tears, many MPs wore the colors of the Ukrainian flag on their lapels. But they no longer live in a country that worships Churchill, as Zelensky seemed to think. Today, when the British state broadcaster BBC mentions Churchill, they give the case priority for prosecution. Academics and others have attacked Churchill’s reputation for a few generations now. He is a “racist”, “imperialist” and much more. For much of 2020, the Churchill statue outside Parliament in Westminster had to be boarded up after being repeatedly attacked by anti-Churchill campaigners.
It’s wonderful to see that Zelensky is standing firm. But it’s sad to be reminded of the gap that exists now. The gap between the image our friends have of us (especially when they are in need) and the image we now have of ourselves.
As if to back this up, a poll last week asked American voters what they might do in a situation similar to the one Ukraine is going through. When asked what they would do if America were attacked under similar circumstances, a staggering 52% of Democrats said they would flee the country. A quarter of Republicans said the same thing. Only 55% of all respondents said they would stay and fight, while a total of 38% said they would flee.
There are many things that are startling about these numbers. Last but not least, this number can be optimistic. After all, most people try to present themselves well to pollsters. So what would the real numbers be?
Hopefully we’ll never have a reason to find out. But it is a reminder of a truth learned by Zelensky and his countrymen. If you know what you are fighting for, then you will fight. People fight for their families and their friends when there is an invasion war. But they are also fighting for another idea: the idea of the nation.
For more than a generation, Americans, like Britons, have been encouraged to despise their nation. Mainly to despise the heroic characters that lie at its roots. Over time, the corrosive effect of this becomes all too evident.
I am touched by the image Zelenskyj has of Great Britain and America. But how I wish it was accurate.
Enough with the COVID “theater”
A few weeks ago I upset some in the theater world by telling what a right Royal Pain is visiting Broadway at the moment. Even as masks are taken off everywhere else, New York entertainment venues remain in the mask craze. While even airlines are ditching them for good, New York’s movie theaters seem to have a fetish for masks that would astound a sexologist.
And it’s not just Broadway. Carnegie Hall and the Met are now requiring viewers to provide evidence of no fewer than three vaccines before being admitted. On a recent visit to the Whitney, heavyweights at the door demanded proof of vaccines and the need to wear a mask over the nostril at all times even though we were entering an operating room. Although frankly the contents of an operating room would have been infinitely more compelling than the artwork on display.
Why are they still doing this? It’s pure theatre. Everyone knows that the employees and performers of these establishments go to the bars around the corner after closing time or curtains and mingle with the people maskless for the rest of the evening. Often much riskier activities than a bit of slow remasking between sips.
Enough now. The cultural spaces of New York must be liberated.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/17/zelensky-hails-founding-fathers-cultural-heroes-just-as-america-rejects/ Zelensky embraces founding fathers, culture heroes, just as America rejects them