Sunday, October 23, 2022

Thoughts on the War and the Election

Victims of the war in Ukraine, October, 2022. (The Guardian)


"The operator of Kyiv’s energy grid has announced a series of 'stabilisation' power cuts following Russian strikes on key infrastructure on Saturday. More than a million households were left without electricity after strikes on energy facilities across Ukraine." (From The Guardian, this morning

Here I am in America. My life is fine and happy. Perhaps I allow myself to be protected by a bubble of American privilege and obliviousness to other people's problems, locally and globally. The suffering of the war victims in Ukraine increases every day as they are subjected to more and more attacks on civilian infrastructure and lives, but many other people around the globe are also experiencing worsening quality of life.

Although my life is ok, I have a continuing dread of current events and coming problems. Like many people, I often avoid thinking about the disasters that are looming before my country and the entire planet, some caused by climate change, some by human cruelty, greed, or carelessness. Droughts and floods and hurricanes have damaged or destroyed homes, farms, irrigation sources, and more. Crops have failed in some places, supply chain issues from a few years ago have not entirely been resolved, and the war in Ukraine has driven prices of wheat, fuel, and energy to new highs. Around the world, people are affected, with many populations facing severe hardships. 

Mostly in my blog, I don't mention these things, but today is different.

The War Continues: Brutality Never Stops

Reading about the brutal and intentional destruction of Ukrainian homes, schools, playgrounds, power stations, general infrastructure, and above all destruction of human lives has become too painful. I think many Americans and Europeans have become totally weary of learning of the evils being inflicted on innocent children and parents and civilians by Russian aggression and depravity. Unfortunately this weariness isn’t helpful to anyone and the savage attacks and threats of worse warfare methods, including nuclear weapons, is now unbearable. It’s tempting to just look away. The Europeans, perhaps more than Americans here, are showing signs of impatience and loss of sympathy for the Ukrainian victims because the war makes them fear for their own well-being.

Consider this prediction of suffering that looms in the lives of Ukrainians, even those far from the current battlegrounds:

“While Ukrainians have endured cuts to water and all manner of other services, fears about heat are now primary. The World Health Organization has warned of the potential for a spiraling humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, where lack of access to fuel or electricity ‘could become a matter of life or death.’” (NYT October 21)

Here are two murals from recent news sources, which illustrate the Russian aggressive spirit, and the Ukrainian determination to take back their country. Murals can be a window into how people are viewing their situation. First here: a Russian military mural. Then: two recent Ukrainian murals.

In Russia, they glorify their transgressions against humanity. This mural in Moscow honors soldiers.
But I think of those soldiers looting, raping, brutalizing children, and breaking international law. (source)

"A fresh painting photographed on October 18 on a battle-scarred wall in Kupyansk, a town in the northeast of Ukraine recently recaptured
by Ukrainian forces. The text reads 'We will multiply the love in the world, and for this we will win!'"
From "Paintings And Propaganda: The Art Motivated By War In Ukraine"

"The entrance to a coffee shop is decorated with posters depicting female Ukrainian warriors in Velyka Kostromka,
a village in eastern Ukraine on October 13." (Same source)

American Democracy May Fail

Like the war, the US November election is becoming too depressing to talk about, write about, read about, or even think about. Democracy is under threat, and the main issue people focus on is the price of gas — over which the elected officials have virtually no control. In Michigan, the issues are the same as everywhere: do we want to lose the power of the vote to candidates who have vowed to nullify any future election, keeping their party in power no matter what the people vote for. The Michigan ballot also contains a proposition to protect human rights — that is, to prevent legislation prohibiting abortion.

Ann Arbor’s iconic Rock, a kind of living mural, has multiple messages painted on it. It urges
a yes vote on Michigan Proposition 3 to protect women’s choices of their own medical care.

Well, that's my depressing set of thoughts for the day. Tomorrow will be better -- at least on the blog!
Blog post © 2022 mae sander


kwarkito said...

I am obviously touched by what you write. Not a day goes by that I don't think about what the Ukrainian people are going through. I am terrified by Putin's determination, and the warmongering fervour of most Russians. Here, there is less and less talk about what is happening in Ukraine. Most people are dreading the winter, because prices are rising. But there are always plenty of people in the cafes, and the trains are full for the holidays. In Europe, where in many countries the governments are moving very much to the right, if not to the extreme right, you don't realise the American situation and the perils that threaten the unity of your country. There is such an acceleration of information that the news of the summer already seems to be buried under today's news.

eileeninmd said...


I am thankful for my life, I often think of what it would be like if I was born in any other country. I feel blessed, I worry for the people of Ukraine.
They did not want this war, multiply the love in the world. That is a great quote. I am worried about our election too, our democracy is very important.
the election should be left to the voters, not any one person should be able to change the outcome. I am hoping for the best. Take care, have a wonderful week.

Jenni Elyse said...

I really do hope democracy won't fail and we'll be able to work things out. I seems very unlikely, though. I wish Putin would pull out his troops from Ukraine. I'm saddened and horrified by what people are capable of. :( Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier.

Helen's Book Blog said...

This is some serious reading and thoughts for a Sunday morning, but I think they are both such important topics. It is so easy to ignore the violence happening in Ukraine (and other areas around the world) as we live our easy lives here in the US.

However, I truly fear for our democracy. We have Proposition 1 on the California ballot about reproductive health and I am sure it will pass. Other states, I am not so hopeful about

thecuecard said...

Nice post Mae. I totally can relate to your thoughts internationally and at home. These are heavy times and they weigh on us like a huge boulder on our backs & thoughts. I don't know what the answer is but we can never give up or give in to election deniers & democracy threateners (even if the election doesn't go our way -- we won't!) ... or in helping those in need when we can. I worry that Ukraine won't have heat this winter ... so I must donate something. thx for your post. Keep up the fight.

Sherry's Pickings said...

it is a scary time for the world. It feels like democracy and good manners and kindness are not valued these days. Let's hope we have a change soon in the way people think and act. I read that young people blame the older generation for these terrible times but I'm not sure they are doing anything to help ...

Bertiebo said...

These are difficult times. Many people are afraid and lose hope. It seems like everything is going wrong

Tandy | Lavender and Lime ( said...

The War in Ukraine seems an impossible one to win, for both sides. I fear for the mental cost for generations to come.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

And if the Republicans take the House in 2023, McCarthy promises there will be NO MORE aid to Ukraine. We MUST not let that happen. Ironic that on our abortion bill, you had to vote NO to keep our reproductive rights.

Really LOVELY murals at the coffee shop.

Bill said...

You are not alone, Mae. My 79th birthday was Saturday, and I have lived through some troublesome times. I never thought that we'd throw away so much progress. Until this last decade I may have preferred one candidate or one party over another. I might have disagreed completely with some, but with the exception of Joseph McCarthy in the 50's I never questioned the honesty and honor of any of our leaders. Thinking positive is becoming difficult. My friend Kwarkito's comments above are a good window into what people in Europe are thinking. Tell everyone you know--- you need to vote.

Bill said...
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Amila said...

The first photo touched my heart. I can't imagine how the people of Ukraine go through this hard time. Hope everything will be fine soon and the world will be a better place where everyone can live peacefully!
The murals share a strong message. We all need peace wherever we live.

Jenn Jilks said...

Man's inhumanity towards man, and women and children. These are really trying times.

Sami said...

What a beautiful and profound quote on that second mural.
I agree most of us are quite privileged and don't even think about it! Sadly there are so many "wrong things" in this world right now, from climate change, politics, wars, hunger, cost of living, that I think a lot of people just can't cope with it all and shut down and avoid thinking beyond their circle, their life...
Sometimes I feel guilty that I'm living a good life, going out, working, have a good house and food, while so many go without...
Thanks for participating in Monday Murals Mae.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

A troubling but necessary piece, Mae. Man never seems to reach the bottom of the barrels of depravity and disregard for human life, and history keeps repeating itself. And still we elect politicians who we know are not good for our societies - over and over. As for American democracy, I am convinced that it is already moribund and soon will succumb. The grand experiment is over.

Jeanie said...

You and I are thinking on the same track, Mae. I have a post in draft I'm polishing on a similar subject. Like you, I rarely go political on the blog - but if there was ever a time to do so, it is now. There are so many threats to our own democracy, our rights, our climate and to the world, in terms (especially) of Ukraine. We must do all we can to maintain all that is good and make all that is challenged better.

Linda said...

Thank you for the inspiring pictures. My heart breaks for the people who are suffering under war and climate change, and also the polar bears and penguins whose existence is threatened by greedy people. We need to stop defining success as wealth.

Sometimes I reflect on how fortunate I am to have lived most of my life between the end of a world war and the coming disaster of climate change.