Gratitude is in short supply right now. The curdled political climate has a lot to do with that. Who the hell is grateful for the Impeached Insult Comedian?
Over the 300+ days since Russian aggression against his country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been compared to Winston Churchill. The best bits, not the imperialist nonsense. The comparisons exploded again this week because Zelensky left his war-battered country for the first time since the invasion. Churchill came to America a fortnight after Pearl Harbor and addressed a joint session of Congress. President Zelensky is now in that number.
His speech was a masterpiece of tone and rhetoric. Most impressive of all was its delivery in English. His English isn’t perfect, but it didn’t need to be. He received a series of well-deserved standing ovations with the only churlish notes coming from the usual Trumpy suspects.
Here’s the money quote:
Americans hate foreign aid. They think their tax dollars should stay home. That’s why sincere expressions of gratitude are so important, especially after the Republicans won the House. Repeat after me: Aid to Ukraine is an investment, not a blank check.
I’m also grateful for the masterful way in which President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken have rallied the allies in support of Ukraine. Many thought that the Kaiser of Chaos had broken the alliance, but they were wrong.
Back to the Churchill/Zelensky comparisons. Churchill was a complicated man who was wrong about many things but the right leader for the UK during World War II. The Churchill story cries out for the nuance supplied by Erik Larson in his outstanding 2020 book The Splendid and the Vile. It was this year’s birthday book from Dr. A.
On the surface, Zelensky is a less complicated figure. He’s a former standup comedian and actor, which makes him an unlikely wartime leader. But he’s risen to the occasion.
Zelensky has something else in common with Winston Churchill:
Repeat after me: Aid to Ukraine is an investment, not a blank check.
Finally, World War II produced a bumper crop of Christmas songs. I’ll Be Home For Christmas is one of the best. The last word goes to Bing Crosby who was the first to record it: