GENDUSA COLUMN: One lone man

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

I never thought I would view such horror in the year 2022!” How often have you heard those words since the Russian invasion began in Ukraine?

Indeed, we assumed that we had evolved above tyranny, evil, and barbaric dictators as a society. We also thought there could never be another Adolph Hitler or Stalin. Leaders of nations today would undoubtedly fear repeating the destruction of World War II and any threat of nuclear warfare. Certainly, humankind has learned its lessons from history.

Yet, one lone man rose from the bowels of immorality, unchecked and unleashed, to render havoc and instill terror into the world. How did that happen?

Is it, in part, due to us wearing blinders? When we become comfortable and complacent, something will usually shake us up. We are reminded that we might not be as safe as we thought, as invincible and that our corner of the world is not all that matters. We watch the atrocity of babies dying and parents fleeing their bomb-torn Ukrainian villages. Thus, we realize the comfort of life can disappear within days due to the actions of one lone man. 

A man who has lost compassion, love, humility and has sold his soul for power. Hatred holds court, and lies fill the air where he roams. His nation is his and his alone, and he shows no remorse for forcing his citizens into isolation and uncertainty. He is the revival of the tyrant, and he is Vladimir Putin.

I am bothered by those Americans and others who hail his name and extol his authority, and I pray they are a minuscule percentage of folks because praising a dictator slaps freedom in the face. These individuals kick the graves of all the fallen soldiers who died on battlefields to keep us from falling prey to monsters. There is no excuse for favoring someone who is so blatantly heinous. Party politics should never be played in this game. It is the one issue we should all agree upon. If we cherish American democracy, we must be on the side of liberty for all people and a renewed determination to keep it that way. We cannot sit in our lounge chairs, kick back, put on our blinders, and not be affected by what goes on elsewhere.

Who knows when a despot might arrive on our shore and attempt to sabotage our corner of the world. 

Turning blind eyes to evil and those who perpetrate it fuels the tyrant. Sometimes our bravery is just absolutely required. Courage to speak up, denounce those who spew hatred, and stop the madness of dissent.

Extremism is increasing, and a threat will rise from these extreme corners. I believe folks drawn to hostility are those who have been hurt and harmed at some point in life, and they search for a place that accepts their ire.

Common sense or truth is lost on them, and there are no words to change their minds. Anger rules, animosity reigns, and wickedness will grow.  They twist facts into lies, turn God’s words to ashes, and swear they do so to save us all. We must open our eyes to their malevolence … now. 

Democracy can fall to dictatorship, as proven by history. There are many reasons, including a new crisis or economic failure, but three stand out as warning signs.

Political polarization is one main contributor. When competing political sides no longer want to cooperate with one another, they open the doors to allow violent or extremist groups to take over politics instead.*

Democracy fails when a nation’s elites decide democracy no longer works for them. When these elites feel that losing an election may mean forfeiting their power and influence over a country, they may seek to take over the nation by force.* (*Study by Alec Medine for Renew Democracy Initiative)

Apathetic citizens are another reason we will lose our freedom. When we believe our vote no longer counts, our words do not matter, and we are not brave enough to stand firm, we invite tyranny home.

Hitler was one lone man who manipulated many, including educated intellectuals, into submission and cowardness. Such monstrosities should never be repeated.  If the American majority believes in love, giving, compassion, and hope, we must be bold enough to open our eyes and close our doors to those who have no concept of freedom, faith and fairness.

Christ was one lone man whose gentle words influenced our world, changed our hearts, and was brave enough to die for us. He condemned hatred, detested bigotry, despised hypocrisy and preached kindness.  One lone person can create a hell on earth or bring heaven to our world.  Which lone man would you ask to enter your home?