Once the initial shock of Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine wore off, some people on my side of the political debate have had enough of “the Ukraine conversation.” Over the last few days, I heard many things from my own side that I found disappointing, if not disturbing. I heard that Ukraine is not that great of a country and is not worth that much attention. I heard how Ukrainians are cowards and are leaving in droves instead of staying and fighting. I heard that the President of Ukraine Volodymir Zelensky is nothing but a political elitist who is no different than Justin Trudeau:
“The ubiquitous support for Zelenskyy by the elite, including support from “defund the police” and Black Lives Matter leftist mega-donor George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and all sides of mainstream media, has led many concerned that a push for yet another foreign war involving the West is underfoot.”
Let me set you straight, isolationist wing of the American Right. While your kids (and my kids) are enjoying their college lives, my friends’ kids in Ukraine are helping refugees at the train stations and running to bomb shelters during lunch breaks. You are not going to call them cowards while sitting in your air-conditioned office – not on my watch.
Also, Volodymir Zelensky is a hero who refuses to leave his country even though he and his family have a bounty on their heads. Unlike other foreign “leaders”, Zelensky is fighting for his country – regardless of what he did before he became a politician, and what his reasons were for becoming one. He does not ask you to get involved in “a foreign war,” but he needs the West’s support. And instead of condemning the monster that is currently ravaging a small country, some on my side are gutter sniping at a brave leader in the middle of a brutal war. Shame on you.
But the most tone deaf analysis comes from my favorite (no sarcasm) outlet PJ Media, condemning Visa and Master Card suspending their services in Russia:
“Does anyone think Vladimir Putin is putting the expenses of the Russian army in Ukraine on MasterCard or Visa? The suspension of Russian operations doesn’t hurt Putin or the Russian government; it hurts ordinary Russians who have no influence over Putin and had nothing to do with his decision to invade.”
“Ordinary Russians had nothing to do with his decision to invade?” Fact check: FALSE. Much of the Russian population absolutely supports the invasion of Ukraine. Most Russians are proud supporters of Putin and his crimes – and Putin knows that. Unlike the Democrat party here in the USA, Putin does not need to “fix” Russian elections – or at least, not to a large extent. Most of his country is fully behind him. If “ordinary Russians” condemned Putin, or at least were brave enough to confront him, they’d make it a lot harder for him to wreak havoc on the world. I am sorry for the minority of “ordinary Russians” who are victims of Putin (and there are many of those as well) – but these are mostly poor people who probably aren’t much affected by the credit cards.
And while credit card companies suspending service does not hurt “poor Russians,” it seriously hurts people who are keeping Putin in power – the Russian oligarchs. While Putin “does not put the expenses of Russian Army on Master Card or Visa,” the oligarchs extensively depend on credit cards for their lavish lifestyle. Russian oligarchs don’t need the Ukraine invasion – all they need is an easy access to their yachts, and they are not getting that right now. Suspension of Russian operations by the credit card companies is yet another level of pressure on the people who do have influence to get rid of Putin’s regime.
“This action by Visa and MasterCard is also ominous for American conservatives. Allum Bokhari, who covers Big Tech for Breitbart, reported last July that progressive activists have launched well-funded campaigns aimed at payment processors, and credit card companies, aimed at cutting the political right off from payment and banking services.
If MasterCard and Visa offer their services only to those with acceptable political opinions, it isn’t just Russia that will ultimately be affected. At risk is the basic and hard-won principle of equality of access to services. When that goes, our other freedoms will swiftly follow — more swiftly than most Americans realize.”
“Those with acceptable political opinions?” So, the assertion here is that Putin – a war criminal that is currently raining death on the streets of a sovereign country – is really just someone with “a different political opinion?”
When the media compare Trump supporters to Nazis, conservatives scream bloody murder, and rightly so. Moral equivalence is a terrible fallacy: comparing mass murderers to political opposition robs you of any moral high ground. But the same holds true on our side. The argument that a powerful company shouldn’t be sanctioning war crimes because it could possibly set a precedent for refusing services to a political opposition one day is a false moral equivalence. First, doing so would present an uphill legal battle. And second, I don’t know about you, but I am willing to potentially sacrifice my Master Card membership if it saves lives of civilians in Ukraine.
I understand that cancel culture is annoying, and as conservatives, we are facing a government that is destroying our own country. While that is happening, atrocities happening in a small country far away may seem like a distraction. But we also need to keep things in perspective. Children getting murdered in a country of Ukraine is a much bigger cause for outrage than being banned on Twitter. If we don’t keep our priorities in order, our movement is not much worth at all.