It is the best of times, it is the worst of times

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”
— Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

This is such an incredible time to be be alive, in ways that are both passionately exhilarating and extraordinarily tragic.

We’ve watched horrific images from Europe of good people who have done nothing wrong suffer incredible carnage and atrocities at the hands of a monstrous madman, all because they dared to live in freedom and pursue a better life for themselves and their families.

We’ve been filled with despair from feeling helpless to bring an immediate end to such unjust suffering.

In America, we’ve witnessed our democracy balance precariously on a precipice, not knowing if the United States will continue as a democracy or plunge into the corruption and authoritarian nightmare so much of the world already endures.

We’ve watched people who we have cared about support a President and political representatives whose conduct was and continues to be immoral, corrupt, abusive, psychopathic and at times blatantly treasonous.

We’ve watched friends and neighbors wallow in hypocrisy and gaslighting, embrace alternative realities and lose all perspective to utterly betray the beliefs in patriotism, faith, science and morality that they vocally boast that they support.

The cognitive dissonance they exhibit is absolutely terrifying and literally mind-boggling.

Yet at the same time…

It feels like we are living through a phenomenal inflection point in history, because the potential changes and outcomes are so significant, and each one of us has a role to play in influencing the outcome.

A world-wide resurgence for freedom, democracy and prosperity are within our grasp.

And so is the potential for the loss of our freedoms and for living through climatic catastrophe and global nuclear war.

The dominoes are falling right at this very moment, yet the direction that they will fall is very much an open question. There is a good chance that within the next three years, if not much sooner, we will see a resolution.

And you and I have a central role to play in determining the outcome.

The times in history where the world is at a global tipping point like this are rare, and we are lucky to be living through one such time, and to have an opportunity to change the outcome.

Whether our words and actions directly influence one person or millions of people doesn’t matter, because collectively there are hundreds of millions of us, and together we have the power to create a future centered on freedom, hope and opportunity.

For those in Russia today, the pursuit of freedom and a better future requires great courage, and risks arrest, imprisonment, and being beaten.

For those of us in America, it merely requires the courage to speak out, to not be afraid to share appropriate values, and to vote. If we do these things, we will shape a better future for our children.

But if we sit quiet in silence, afraid we might offend a vocal minority that has already betrayed America and democratic values… if we fail to have the courage to even use our voice and take simple actions, we will soon find ourselves in the same situation as the unfortunate people under Putin’s vice.

What will you do today, this week, and this year to speak out and make a difference?

Sharing this note with your friends might help, but I’m sure you can find additional ways to do more.

The choice is clear.

The choice is ours.

Whether you want to support providing humanitarian aid to those fleeing Ukraine, contribute directly to the Ukrainian military, or help combat the disinformation being fed to the people of Russia, this column explains how you can make a meaningful difference:
How to help Ukrainians now” by Timothy Snyder

And also see: Russia-Ukraine War: Info and Ways to Help

Singer and songwriter (and my friend) Natalie Gelman spoke out this week with a new music video, “The Answer,” in which she offers the refrain “Your love becomes an answer we can all live by.” I think she has got it absolutely right.

Cliff Kurtzman
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