What I know

I can find Ukraine on a map, and I could have found Ukraine on a map prior to all this happening. I know Ukraine is a former Soviet republic. I know it’s “Ukraine” and not “The Ukraine,” although I can’t tell you why everyone seemed to spend so much time thinking it was “The Ukraine” or whether there was some formal name change or this is some sort of Mandela effect nonsense. I know that Kyiv is the capital, although until recently I was under the impression it was generally spelled “Kiev,” and I’m not sure when that change happened either.

I read a book by a pair of Ukrainian authors last year, and liked it quite a bit, but until earlier today I was under the impression that Chernobyl was in Siberia.

I just discovered that the golden dome that seems to be in the background in a lot of shots of Kyiv’s skyline is the Cathedral of St. Sophia, and it looks really damn cool:

It also looks weirdly computer-generated in a lot of the pictures of it online, and I can’t quite figure out what about it is generating that impression.

In addition, the following is true:

I am, in general, Against War.

I am, in its entirety, Against Tyranny.

While I am fully and entirely aware that the US has, to put it mildly, not been remotely the force for good in the world that we pretend to be, I am one hundred percent comfortable with trusting anything Joe Biden has to say against anything Vladimir fucking Putin has to say. Putin is an autocrat and a tyrant and a murderer, and I need you to understand that when I call him a murderer I am saying that he, personally, has murdered people. Joe Biden has blood on his hands too; it is impossible to be the President of the United States without having blood on your hands, but there is no credible moral comparison between him and Putin, period.

Combine the following with the fact that I was in elementary school during the Reagan years, when we were all convinced that global nuclear war could break out at any moment, and fuck an “active shooter” drill, we had actual nuclear bomb drills, and it should not be surprising that I take the side of the Ukrainians in this conflict. I am in a situation where I feel like “the facts” are mostly outside my grasp but the moral fact of the situation does not seem to be; the Russians are invading a sovereign country under what seems to be utterly bullshit premises, and regardless of any other details I feel pretty good about coming out and stating that they shouldn’t do that.

I am also encouraged by reports that there are protests happening in hundreds of cities across Russia.

I am not– and this is where I seem to differ with a lot of people online– going to be arguing with the Biden administration about the details of how they push back against Moscow on this. I had never heard of SWIFT before today and I think probably 90% of the people who are online arguing about whether we should kick Russia off of SWIFT had also never heard of it before today. I support the idea of “sanctions,” but that doesn’t mean that I have any real fucking clue what form they should take. I voted for this dude so that he could either make those decisions himself or hire people who were smart enough to tell him what decisions to make. I’m a motherfucking middle school math teacher in Indiana. This is about as “not my lane” as anything could possibly be. And I have not the slightest idea what the hell we or anyone should do if whatever sanctions package gets put into place doesn’t work, because I really, really, really, really don’t want to go to war with Russia.

The end.

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Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.

One thought on “What I know

  1. Yes, classroom desks would definitely protect us, right? (I think I was in high school for those drills, but maybe not, because I skipped a lot of high school classes?)

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