by David Silverberg
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky’s speech to the United States Congress last night did more than just build support for Ukraine’s struggle against Russia and inspire admiration for its fight to preserve democracy—it just may have saved American democracy as well.
Great speeches don’t become great just by the content of their words. They also become great by the content of their moment and the power of their impact.
Last night Zelensky gave a great speech, one that is truly historic because it may have determined the course of history and nations.
Appearing in his trademark military fatigues, Zelensky reminded Americans not just that freedom isn’t free but that in a land far away people are giving their blood, sweat and tears to defend it—and that it’s worth the sacrifice.
The Zelensky speech put things into perspective. Ukrainians are threatened by a tyrant who is bringing the full force of a population of 143 million people and a superpower arsenal against them. Nonetheless, Zelensky himself and the 44 million Ukrainians standing with him are fighting back and looking forward to a just victory.
In America, democracy is threatened by a failed and narcissistic would-be autocrat and his cosplay MAGA fanatics who are fueled by grievance, greed and frustration. They offer Americans nothing but corruption, hatred, prejudice, rage—and tyranny.
The danger facing Ukrainians is death; the danger facing Americans is a failure to defend their best values, to protect what the blood, sweat and tears of 245 years of American effort has secured and which they effortlessly inherited.
When it comes to politicians, the danger facing Ukrainian leaders is assassination or battlefield obliteration. Elected American leaders face a loss of office, derailment of a career, the insults and obloquy of petty and vindictive would-be autocrats and their followers.
Zelensky, speaking to the House of Representatives, which was nearly destroyed by a would-be dictator on Jan. 6, 2021, put the stakes, the odds and the goals of two democracies into perspective and did so in a powerful and inspiring way.
Zelensky came to America to save Ukraine and its democracy—but he just may have saved America’s democracy as well.
Special to Big Mouth Media from the Paradise Progressive. Originally published on December 22, 2022.