It's too early to tell how Putin's invasion of Ukraine is going to turn out.
Currently a 40-mile long Russian military convoy is making its way toward Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Tough times lie ahead for the people of Ukraine, who have been fighting bravely against the stronger Russian forces.
But one thing is certain. The freedom-loving world has been inspired by the fierce determination of Ukrainians to preserve their democracy.
Strong sanctions against Russia have been supported by most European nations, even including usually neutral Switzerland, which has frozen the accounts of Russian oligarchs and others targeted by the sanctions.
(Which is great news for everybody except criminals and authoritarians who believed their money was safe in Swiss bank accounts.)
FIFA, the soccer organization which isn't exactly known for taking strong political stands, has ruled that Russia isn't eligible to compete in World Cup matches. Likely this will sadden ordinary Russians just as much as having their credit cards no longer work.
Today my 73-year old self was moved by a tweet about a Ukrainian man my age who said he's willing to die for his country.
That got me thinking. What are we Americans willing to do to preserve our own democracy in the face of attempts to overturn it?
Not though an invasion by an authoritarian despot, Vladimir Putin, but by followers of a homegrown would-be authoritarian despot, Donald Trump.
Those Republican sycophants are making it harder to vote in many states. They're targeting minority voters with no fear of pushback from a Supreme Court set on gutting federal election laws that protect the right to vote.
So far Congress has done nothing to prevent a repeat of the January 6, 2021 insurrectionist attempt to overturn the free and fair election that made Biden president of the United States. Conservative Democrats are teaming up with Republicans to stop steps to protect our democracy.
But many others are fighting at the local, state, and national level to fend off the clear and present dangers to American democracy. I'm hoping that the freedom fighters in Ukraine will inspire them and many others to battle as hard against authoritarianism in the United States.
While hundreds of thousands of women, children, and older men have left Ukraine, I've seen a report that 20,000 Ukrainian men who were in other European countries are returning to Ukraine to help fight the Russian invasion.
Deeply inspiring. Especially since here in the United States we're not being asked to risk our lives to save democracy, but to do some much easier things.
Vote, even if it is difficult. Support Democratic candidates in the 2022 midterms. Protest attempts to subvert our democracy. Urge politicians to pass legislation that strengthens voting rights. Contribute to organizations that register new voters and file legal suits to protect the right to vote.
This isn't as dramatic as firing a Javelin missile at a Russian tank. It's just as important though, since our democracy needs protecting as much as Ukraine's does, albeit not in the same way.
One thing we lack is a leader like Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine. He has been inspiring his people to fight the Russian invasion with all their might. Our President Biden, by contrast, has been largely absent from the fight to repel attempts to curtail or destroy our own democracy.
No matter. Eventually a leader may emerge in this country who will inspire like Zelensky has been able to do. Even if that doesn't happen, the main thing is to never give up.
Perhaps Republicans will succeed in stealing the 2022 midterm and 2024 presidential elections. If so, don't give up. If Putin manages to install a puppet government in Ukraine, the Ukrainian people will turn to guerrilla warfare.
They won't give up just because an authoritarian has won a few battles. They won't give up until they've expended every ounce of energy fighting for democracy. We Americans need to have the same attitude.
Never give up.