As someone who wants to become a journalist that is determined to revolutionize the way that the news is reported, it is my sole objective to become entirely free of bias. But, I have a problem. I can not remain silent in regard to Russia’s unlawful, illegal and horrendous invasion of the sovereign-democratic state of Ukraine.
To pay for my education at SRU for the past four years, I have worked at The Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Throughout my employment, I have had the great opportunity to meet a variety of different people, from an array of different countries including Jamaica, Ireland and Ukraine through Hershey’s foreign exchange program.
If you wanted new music recommendations or to be taught some new foreign dance moves, then you went to find the Jamaicans. They loved their music, and they especially loved sharing it.
If you wanted a night out on the town that you literally would not remember, you hung out with the Irish for the night (and then the next morning you promise yourself to never do that again).
But, if you wanted to smile or just have a friendly conversation with someone, then you talked to the Ukrainians.
I am proud to say that I am friends with several Ukrainians and had the awesome opportunity to speak with many of them in length during multiple summers at the hotel. I got to learn about their lives, their dreams and their country.
Let me be clear, Ukraine is not an enemy, nor are they just an ally.
Ukraine is the best example of American-led democratic outreach.
I asked several of these girls why they chose to come and intern in the United States when they had dozens of options to pick from all around the world. Now, some of them said they chose the United States because they heard through the grapevine that we had the best food around. They weren’t wrong, and I made sure to give them some recommendations.
However, one answer stood out to me the most, and quite frankly, made me damn proud to be an American.
A Ukrainian intern named Marzena told me she chose to intern in the United States because she wanted to experience what life was like living in the original democracy of the world. She also couldn’t stop talking about how coming to explore and live in the United States was a dream come true for her. She loved her country, but she also loved ours.
From that point on I referred to her as “my favorite U.S. Ukrainian.” This nickname always brought a smile to her face.
These people are truly the best of what democracy has to offer. Their ultimate goal is to reinvent their people and their state, in a determined attempt to represent what they know to be the ultimate system of government: democracy.
Without democracy, people are silenced, and the Ukrainians know this better than many of us ever will.
Vladimir Putin will inevitably go down in history as a rogue leader who chose violence over peace, anarchy over sovereignty, authoritarianism over democracy, and death over life.
His ultimate dream is to move through Ukraine and take the Baltic states in order to finally reclaim what he believes to be rightfully his. Let us not forget, this is a man who was in the KGB during the reign of the Soviet Union. He wants to bring the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) back from the dead.
We cannot let him.
As Americans, we have an obligation to stand in absolute defense of a fellow democratic state. These Ukrainians are people who idolize the American ideal. If we turn our backs, not only will we diminish the integrity of the United States’ ability to keep our allied nations safe, but also weaken the capabilities of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the United Nations (UN). The world will begin to lose sight of the imperative importance of democracy.
If America loses sight, the world will lose sight.
We stand for our national anthem, we stand for our Pledge of Allegiance, we stand to show respect, we stand to salute our troops and we stand for what is right, so let us stand with Ukraine.
We have the ability; Therefore, we have the responsibility.