Three months into the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine, I am as horrified as everyone else by the constant stream of wartime images and reports. I am also dismayed, however, that the U.S. — like NATO in general — now frames its goal not simply as supporting Ukraine but as weakening and even defeating Russia. This approach raises some huge questions.
Is this aim of pushing Russia into defeat (and Putin from power) even logical? Does it make sense to characterize Putin as a megalomaniac monster while simultaneously assuming that he won’t resort to nuclear weapons if cornered? Public statements about “weakening Russia “ (from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin) and being “fundamentally at war, although somewhat through a proxy, with Russia” (Rep. Seth Moulton, D.-Mass.) serve really to confirm Putin’s assertions that it’s Russia vs the West. Accepting Finland and Sweden into NATO seems likely only to push Putin further towards retaliation rather than guaranteeing any country’s safety.
There’s also the staggering amount of money involved. Congress is passing a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, mostly aimed at military rather than humanitarian assistance. Meanwhile, in our country today, 14.4% of Americans (42.5 million people) currently live below the poverty line, according to the U.S. Census. Thirty million lack health insurance. Baby formula is scarce. Student debt is escalating, and fewer than ever of our bright young people feel they can afford to go to college. Fire season is starting early in the parched West, with hurricane season not far behind here in the East. COVID cases, hospitalization, and death rates are rising, but funding for vaccines and treatment has stalled. Why are we willing to commit huge sums of money to the weapons industry rather than to the infrastructures we so desperately need as a society and as a planet?
Finally, why doesn’t President Biden — leader of the richest, most powerful nation the world has ever known — convene an urgent peace summit to bring an end to the dreadful suffering in Ukraine and to the enormous threat of nuclear catastrophe hanging over all our heads? Isn’t it possible to condemn Russian aggression but yet work skillfully for a negotiated peace? Do we really want to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian, and possibly to the last vestige of life on earth? If not, we as responsible citizens need to raise our voices, and say no.
Candidate Reddick did participate in Sierra Club process
Perhaps Reverend [Albert] Reddick is disappointed that he didn’t get the Sierra Club endorsement (“Reddick knocks Sierra Club over missed endorsement opportunity,” Letters to the Editor, May 12-18 edition) but he knows all about our process, because he participated in it.
We ask all registered candidates if they would like to be considered for our endorsement based on their answers to our questionnaire, evaluation of their campaign materials, experience, and performance in candidate events — but can only consider them if they say “yes” to the invitation.
In the Pittsboro race, Pamela Baldwin didn’t. In the past, we have — successfully — endorsed African American candidates, including Carl Thompson and Karen Howard. Of those that responded this cycle, we chose David Delaney and Katie Kenlan as the most environmentally responsible choices for Chatham County. We hope that advice helps voters pick their candidates wisely.
Political Committee, Orange/Chatham Sierra Club Group
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