Richard Randolph

July 3, 1955--Oregon
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Ukraine 2023

I want to live in a world in which people won't tolerate
the murdering of innocent women and children,
where they'll insist it stop immediately,
without compromise, whatever the costs,
and where the leaders of the free world won't turn a blind eye
because Russia has oil or they're afraid of nuclear war,
but act on principle, with the courage of their convictions.
And I want to believe in an American public willing to stand for what is right,
however expensive, inconvenient, or far away,
and a NATO alliance determined to defend
all those trying to live in freedom.

I feel proud when I think of how the civilized world
has come together to support the Ukrainian people.
But I also worry when I hear calls for negotiation,
as if you can compromise with a murderer.
And I'm disgusted when I imagine what might happen
if enough corrupt, self-serving politicians,
paid off by the big banks and oil companies,
convince us that it's best to let bygones be bygones.
We don't need to love Putin, or even trust him,
they'll say, but we need to find common ground
and work with him--whatever the costs.
Afterall, Russia is a world power, and he is its president,
and they have nuclear weapons they're not afraid to use,
and oil we desperately need.

Doesn't it sound familiar?
Haven't we heard it all before?
Just give Putin a few concessions
and everything will be fine, like before,
and it will be, at least sort of,
except all the brave Ukrainian people who fought and died
for the simple right to live in a just society will be forgotten,
like all those in Chechnya, Georgia, and Crimea before,
and a free and democratic Ukraine will be no more.
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