“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…”

During the presidential campaign, I was asked if I would vote for Donald Trump. I politely answered the person asking that my conscience would not permit me to. I felt (and still feel) that Trump’s policy regarding Ukraine was disastrous and that he would not support our people. I was reminded that I am an American citizen, that I live in the USA, and that the politics of a foreign country (Ukraine) should not concern me. I failed the “America First” test.

I admit my sin. However, I am the son, grandson, and great-grandson of emigrants. I know stories of horror: murder, arrests, imprisonment and death. The sudden disappearance of a young family member. The search for bodies. And the traitors who benefited from reporting an icon, prayer book noticed, or your presence at a church service. I can’t support a candidate who ignores the suffering and the deaths of countless young Ukrainian men and women who are defending their homeland from Russian invasion. After all, President Trump did say that “Ukraine is Europe’s problem.”

He has yet to make a statement condemning acts of murder and genocide by Vladimir Putin. The list is long: Chechnya, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine. Let us not forget that Putin has killed those who confront him with the truth: Nemtsov, Politskovskaya, Litvinenko and others.

President Trump has declared corporate bankruptcy four times. Could it be that he unconsciously is sending the message that he is also morally bankrupt? Pull out your psychology books.

I do not wish to become morally bankrupt by association. My naïve and idealistic understanding of what it means to be an American is to lend a helping hand and to give hope to those who are oppressed and to follow Lady Liberty’s dictum:

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

It has been three years since the Revolution of Dignity took place. Three years ago, snipers killed over 100 peaceful protestors. Yes, no one has been arrested, no one prosecuted, no committee of reconciliation established. The snipers have disappeared and the rats have jumped ship.

But, the moral lesson remains firmly with us. Ukraine is the model of freedom and diversity. Jews, Christians, Muslims, women and men, believers and non-believers, people of all races, Tatars, Russians, Chechens, gay and straight, Europe, the Americas, and Afro-Ukrainians all stood together, as one global people.

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When your freedom is threatened, when you face death, when your children face uncertainty, and when you starve, only then is everything precious.

Historically, we are the displaced and dispossessed. We are the homeless, the emigres, the persecuted.

Please take an opportunity to spread the word and to become an activist for the truth (which still exists).

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