This points to an article written by journalist Bari Weiss at Substack. You can find the entire thing here.

It feels like we are living through President Volodomyr Zelensky’s moment in history. Kyiv is being shelled and has been for the past three weeks. But the former comedian remains at his desk, wearing his army t-shirt and sitting in his green leather chair on Bankova Street in the center of the city. More than two million Ukranians have fled the country, but he will not budge.

“The fight is here,” he said, responding to an offer from the Americans to help him evacuate. And then, reportedly: “I need ammunition, not a ride.” (I’m in Florida right now, and I saw a guy wearing a t-shirt with the line printed in yellow and blue—already there are t-shirts!)…

(Then Weiss shares many statements from Ukrainians.)

Listening to such people speak (and sing) so plainly is deeply moving and inspiring. It is also, if I am honest, unsettling.


Why is witnessing such courage uncomfortable?

It is because I cannot help but notice the gap between them and us. Between the bigness of their vision and their mission and the smallness of ours. Between their moral clarity and our moral confusion. Between their spine and our spinelessness. Between their courage and our epidemic of cowardice. Between their commitment to civilization and our resignation to chaos. 

Watching Zelensky and his people reminds me what we have lost. Of how uncertain and fragile we have become. 

Bearing witness to Ukraine’s answers forces me to ask some hard questions about us—questions I worry we have forgotten how to ask: How would we act if the guns were to our heads? Would we similarly feel no choice but to fight for our home, for everything we love? Would we have the courage to live by the values we profess if our backs were to the wall? Or the sense of national unity? Or have we gotten so comfortable, so coddled, so removed from the world of flesh and blood, that we have forgotten how to name those values at all.

We are not yet in an actual war. I pray we never are. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t in an ideological one. We are—and have been for a while now. And it is one that we—heirs to the Enlightenment and the American experiment—are losing very badly. 

We are losing because we are unserious…

One of the core lessons of what’s happening right now in Ukraine is that fighting for noble causes matters—indeed, it is the only thing that matters. It can mean the difference between life and death. Between freedom and slavery. 

Everything happening in Ukraine right now is happening because human beings are willing to fight for it, to bend the arc of history. What would happen if we could be stirred to care about causes bigger than ourselves, our comforts, our reputations, what comes up when we Google ourselves? 

If we are the home front of the free world—and I believe we are and must be—what are the principles that should guide us? What are the things worth fighting for?