The Cost of Autocracy

Stoyan Nenov/Reuters
A woman cries as she walks with her children after fleeing from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, at the border crossing in Siret, Romania, Feb. 28, 2022.

I’ve been watching gut-wrenching footage of the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

Images of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing their homes. Pictures of desperate and panicked mobs on train station platforms looking for safe passage to Poland or Hungary. The same pained expression on every face. An expression that comes from leaving all you’ve ever known behind with the devastating understanding you’ll likely never return.

I think the world is still reeling from how quickly events leading to the crisis unfolded. The transformation from Ukrainian citizen to Ukrainian refugee seemed instantaneous.

Ukrainians went from sipping coffee at sidewalk cafés to walking for miles with everything they own stuffed in a duffle bag. We watch them stagger down the middle of streets, surrounded by block after city block of blackened and bombed-out buildings. We wince in discomfort at the hundreds of children in winter coats clinging to stuffed animals while holding on to their stunned parent’s hands. We imagine the feeling of having our own security ripped away and our lives forever changed because of one man’s delusions of grandeur and unbridled lust for power.

What’s happening in Ukraine is so unsettling because we see with our own eyes the fragility of life and how tenuous the connection between safety and total chaos is.

As I watch the crisis unfold from the comfort of my surroundings, a sense of hopelessness settles in. The hopelessness is chased by an anxiety-fueled realization that everything which anchors me to my own sense of belonging might disappear in a wisp and whim.

Simple things, like walking through the front door into the arms of a loved one, relaxing in a favorite chair, falling asleep to the warm and familiar nuances of home. The almost unconscious absorption of sights and sounds that comprise life; the sound of my dog walking across the kitchen floor, a ticking clock in the den, the electric hum of a refrigerator at night, or the relaxed, carefree expression of my children sitting around the kitchen table.

It’s unbearable knowing that everything that grounds us and keeps us whole can disappear when one man decides to go to war.

But that’s what happens in an autocracy.

Most importantly, we shouldn’t get lulled into thinking this can’t happen in America. We have a vicious and ugly streak of “might-is-right” believers in our country and government.

And let’s keep in our collective consciousness that Donald Trump is one of Vladimir Putin’s biggest admirers, and that Donald Trump still controls the Republican Party.

Redirecting our democracy to an autocracy might be one election cycle away.

When Donald Trump was President, he openly mused about shooting protesters in the legs. Donald Trump ordered military police to use tear gas to disperse peaceful protestors. Donald Trump despises a free press and openly talks about “investigating” and targeting journalists. And like every true authoritarian, Donald Trump understands the biggest threat to autocratic rule is truth and freedom. After all, it was truth and freedom that ended his presidency, despite all his attempts to suppress both.

I’ve no doubt that Trump is fine with Putin clamping down on protestors. And I’m sure that Trump sees nothing wrong with Putin keeping the truth from Russian citizens by cracking down on journalists. Trump himself longed for that type of power and control.

Imagine if Trump were President today. Do you honestly think he would condemn Putin and work with our NATO alliance? How much worse would the Ukrainian people be under a Trump Presidency?

We are all Ukrainians today – their fight is our fight, because they fight for freedom and democracy.

One of the easiest things we can do as Americans to help the Ukraine is to stand up to the autocratic forces in our own country. Call out Trump and his sycophants at every turn and be sure to vote for candidates that support democracy and freedom.

Dear Vlad,

What the fuck?

Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK??

People just want to live their lives without fear of oppression and suppression.

Parents just want to raise their children in a safe, secure, and peaceful world.

Children just want to learn, laugh, and play without fear of being sniped or blown up.

No one cares about your nostalgically misguided view of Russian imperialism.

Fuck you and everything you stand for.

Sincerely,

The world

On a Dime

Flipping between channels this morning.

Ja Morant dunk highlights and Ukrainians struggling for their lives.

NFL Draft teasers and Russian Cruise Missiles blasting into apartment buildings.

Safe in my power recliner, sipping hot coffee, my snoring dog at my feet.

Just a few weeks ago, like me, Ukrainians lived their lives peacefully.

I imagine my Ukrainian counterpart sitting in his apartment, watching TV, petting his cat, enjoying life’s simple pleasures.

Life can turn on a dime, especially after 4 years of an American president heaping praise on autocratic dictators – softening the ground for anti-democratic movements around the globe, lauding dictators for their “strength” while bashing long-standing alliances.

If you think what is happening in Ukraine today can’t happen in America tomorrow, you’re kidding yourself.

There are anti-democratic forces in congress, and the de facto leader of the Republican party continues to praise and refuses to denounce a murderous thug’s invasion of Ukraine.

Keep this in mind when heading to the ballot box in 2022 and 2024.

Democracy on Fire

Ukrainians are fighting for their lives and their freedom.

Their country is under attack, and their sovereignty is threatened by a thuggish dictator, drunk on nostalgia and looking to impose authoritarianism on a country that poses no threat to him or his country.

And rather than condemn the actions and motives of the Russian President, Mike Pompeo and Former President Trump praise him for his tactics, lending aid and comfort to a true enemy of democracy.

This is utterly unsurprising, as Trump’s 4-year presidency is littered with examples of praise for authoritarian rulers and governments. And don’t hold your breath for Republican leadership to condemn Trump or Pompeo, as today’s Republican party is infested with anti-democratic seditionists who are beholden to Trump and foreign influencers.

The threat to western democracy in Europe is genuine. Another Trump presidency would act as a linchpin and accelerant for anti-democratic forces abroad and in America.

We should all keep that in mind when we head to the ballot box in 2022 and 2024.

Presidential Document Archive System

Flushing handwritten notes down the toilet while your flunkies furiously pack away official documents to be taken secretly to another location is not the act of an innocent man.

President Trump’s behavior surrounding white house documents mirrors that of a meth dealer who hears a sharp knock on his door in the middle of the night.

Crap-casting Rogan and Young-loving Streamers

Crap-casting Rogan and Young-loving streamers

Fact-blasting moron, artists and dreamers

Free speech and fact breach, they dance and they stab

Truth in the morgue on a cold marble slab


Drip-drying wet naps on Vin Diesel’s Daisy

Popcorn and Pepsi with Martin Scorsese

Grifting and grafting on quaaludes and blow

Gaetz in sex traffic with nowhere to go


Oath Keeping Proud Boys, soldiers in waiting

“My Pillow hucksters” gaslighting and baiting

Fascists and fucktards fall from the sky

Democracy’s gone in the blink of an eye


Hopscotch and whiskey, Sorry and Twister

Rebellion and UNO with Vlad Putin’s sister

Records and transcripts get flushed in the can

Truth getting trumped by a fat orange man


Cow tipping junkies and pill-popping tweakers

Political flunkies in loafers and sneakers

Gazpacho Goosestepping Capital cops

Malevolent Marjorie, she never stops


Fuck headlines and deadlines

Bread, milk, and inflation

The next time you vote

for the soul of your nation

Carry integrity into the booth

Raile against liars

and vote for the truth

February, in the Warmth of the Morning Sun

I found a dead ladybug

on the sill of my window today

Just a few days prior

I witnessed her flying around my bedroom

and wondered,

trapped inside my sunny domicile,

with frost on the windows,

did she long for the warmth

of late summer days

and leafy plants on my kitchen patio?


She was a lifeless faded orange

hard, shiny, and smooth

her legs tightly tucked

into her flat underside

I slid her on to a piece of printer paper

carried her down the staircase

that goes from the bedroom to the kitchen

and placed her gently in a potted plant

in the warmth of the morning sun

The Masked Shithead

If casting Rudy Giuliani on “The Masked Singer” doesn’t make you question the state of our society, I don’t know what will.

That story exemplifies societal rot and apathy. A rating-grubbing stunt that also served as a slap in the face to American democracy and justice.

A gross attempt by the Fox-based television show to minimalize the seditious acts by Trump and his shit-sweating-democracy-subverting cohort.

Kudos to the judges who walked off in protest.

Was is Hope

Scattered thoughts

in worry’s kettle

they boil, bubble

and test your mettle


Your day gets buried

by tomorrow

Deep distress

morphs into sorrow

Sorrow blooms

into despair

With eyes shut tight

you cut your hair

You live your days

in underwear

Stained coffee cups

are everywhere


The blinking light’s

unanswered calls

Just windows, ceiling,

and four walls

Kitchen trash

and rotting fruit

Dirty laundry

crumpled suit


Gripped by it

it sticks like tape

Thoughts are formed

and then take shape

and so, you plan

your great escape


Then . . .

The sun

Seeps through

the blinds one day

Her emergence

takes your breath away

You brush your teeth

You comb your hair

A welcome break

from your despair

You hope it lasts;

you pray it does

Then it dawns on you

That hope is “was”


Because . . .

“was” is change

always pending

A twisting road

unknown and bending

I was depressed

it went away

It stuck to me

but did not stay

It will return

of this I’m sure

Because was is was

it’s not a cure


Still,

keep “was” close

in your darkest hour

Because “was” is hope

and hope is power