It’s been difficult to focus the last few days because, frankly, I am consumed by rage. I rage against Vladimir Putin, a maniacal kleptocratic thug, murderer, and war criminal who has launched an illegal and unjust war against Ukraine. I rage against his delusions of grandeur and the fact that he has the power to attempt to realize them. If there is method to his madness, (and it is madness), it is not apparent even to his own government as his reality-show “cabinet meeting” and his long-winded lunatic ravings of injustice and grievance have clearly illustrated.
I am enraged for those innocent Ukrainians who will be the victims of Putin’s fantasies; for the brave and bad-ass Ukrainians who will die defending their homes, their families, and their freedom; even for the poor Russian conscripts who will die knowing that a weak and pathetic man such as Putin has sent them to their deaths in an illegal, useless, and senseless war; and for those brave everyday Russians who will probably sacrifice their freedom and perhaps even their lives opposing the delusions of an aging and dysfunctional dictator.
I rage against the global capitalist machine, its cowardly political cronies, and the men (and it is almost all men) who will decide that the lives of probably tens of thousands of Ukrainians are worth the Russian oil, the Russian gas, the Russian fertilizers, and the Russian dirty money that makes their lives comfortable. I rage against the same men that make the same calculus for Uyghurs in China, for garment workers in Bangladesh, for child miners in Congo, even for farmers here in America, and for all those exploited and enslaved by our consumerist culture. I rage against those political and economic elites whose greed and cowardice stands in the starkest contrast imaginable compared to Zelenskyy’s courage and commitment.
I rage against the Israelis who refused to give Ukraine Iron Dome because it would upset Putin. I rage against our own leaders who would let such an important defensive system be left to a veto of a foreign government when we spend $700 billion per year on our military but who then declare that providing health care, childcare while lifting children out of poverty, and combatting climate change will cost too much.
I am enraged by these foaming-at-the-mouth warmongers who always want to send Americans to die in places like Iraq and are now willing to try and justify Putin’s war today. I am enraged by the fact that I was labeled a disloyal Fifth Columnist by many of these same people when I opposed that illegal and senseless war in Iraq that was also sold with a web of lies similar to those Putin is spouting today. I am enraged by the traitorous, treasonous totalitarian wannabes like Trump and Tucker who revere Putin as the world leader of testosterone-filled white nationalism and embolden him with their praise. I am enraged by their Mini-mes in Florida, Texas, South Dakota, and all levels of the Republican party that have their own dangerous white Christian nationalist delusions and have already shown their willingness to sacrifice tens of thousands of people in their own petty pursuit of power. I am enraged by the phony and fraudulent liberals and leftists like Taibbi and Greenwald who are just as fascist and willing to justify Putin’s aggression as their fellow travelers on the far right. And I am enraged by all the grifters and charlatans who use faux outrage and true hatred to expand their own power and line their own pockets by deceiving their own supporters and gaslighting the rest of us.
Finally, I despair. I despair that there is so little we can do to help Ukraine without creating even more damage and death. I despair that our political, legal, and media systems seem unwilling or unable to effectively deal with these fascist kleptocrats both at home and abroad, with their wonton and open criminality, and with their apparently expanding power. I despair that the global capitalist machine will keep exploiting the planet and the poorest until this world is unlivable. I despair at my own impotence to really change any of this. And then the cycle of debilitating rage begins again.