Compadres, let’s spit right in Vladimir Putin’s eye. The viral fear of losing our democracy lurks in the deepest recesses of our thoughts right now, but the heartening courage shown by Russian protesters to save Alexi Navalny, oust Putin and form a more representative government is an ardent reminder no true democracy exists without struggle. President Biden shared his concern about Navalny’s fate with Putin on Jan 26. Our new government’s transparency is reassuring.
Armies of demonstrators are out in freezing streets all over Russia to protest the repeated jailing of Navalny, popular opposition leader of the Russia of the Future party (Rossiya Budushchego), after he defiantly reentered the country. His crime? Not dying from Novichok poison slipped to him by Putin’s agents. If protests continue, the government may destabilize enough that the rich oligarchs controlling Russia’s assets will withdraw their support from Putin. Rachel Maddow reported Jan 27th that some activists planned to declare they were Americans, in hopes police would hesitate to arrest them. Wahoo! Our country once again stands for human rights.
As my Aunt Cora used to say, “Look up. Stop staring at your bellybutton.” Americanskis, we have been mesmerized by the filthy contents of Trump’s umbilicus for four long years. The prospect of Hillary Clinton, another Democrat, heading our government threatened Vladimir Putin so much in 2016 he directed an intense campaign of voter disinformation and interference using far-right messaging to foster Trump’s white nationalist base. We even suspect some Republican members of Congress and the National Rifle Association of colluding with Putin and being on the take.
The Republican party is resisting the sweeping shift in our government’s direction and
seeking to undermine the will of the majority who elected Biden. Cagey Mitch McConnell first said he favored holding the insurrectionist Trump’s impeachment trial, then delayed it until Trump was gone. Now 45 Republican Senators, including McConnell, argue it’s unconstitutional to try a President after his term has ended. We must find a way to bar Trump from ever holding office again. The struggle to hold our democracy has just started. Come on Democrats, this ain’t our first rodeo.
Meanwhile, let’s draw a line in the dirt Alamo-style to help pull Putin out of the saddle and maybe find some Republican four-flushers who side with autocrats. In 2017 Congress compiled a list of the richest Russian oligarchs who have a collective net worth of $180 billion according
to Business Insider and they stash wads of money off-shore. Although Trump opposed it,
Congress passed financial sanctions on these oligarchs with a veto-proof majority. Absurdly Trump later said no President has ever been harder on Russia.
Let’s cut Putin off at the knees this time. Contact your Congressional representatives and pressure them to swiftly pass the most extreme sanctions possible on the financial assets of the Russian oligarchs propping up Putin. We must affirm our support for liberty everywhere, for our own sakes as well as for those Russian patriots armed with snowballs against the overwhelming force of the Russian military police. And take down the names of those Republicans who dare oppose these sanctions. They are surely Putin sympathizers and collaborators.