Me again. Thought I’d follow up my previous reply to your Op Ed in the NY Times a few months ago (http://curtiscsmith.tumblr.com/post/61184193459/dear-mr-putin) with a word or two on this thing going on in Ukraine. Big news: things are heating up, like dry kindling waiting for someone to put a match to it. At this point, maybe a spark would do the trick…wouldn’t take much after the Crimean mess the other night. But here’s the thing - it hasn’t gone off yet. There is still hope.
After the Olympics your image seemed better and brighter than ever (relatively speaking of course). You spent a lot of money on those Games (and by ‘a lot’ I mean $50 Billion and counting), and in spite of the negative press before and during the Games it worked - people were really impressed. The Olympics were exciting and safe. And they were beautiful. But now you have this civil unrest going on in Ukrainian, and everyone knows Russia has more than just a passing interest in its outcome. You can remain silent or you can say whatever you want to the press, but actions speak louder than words, and everyone’s actions these days are an open book for everyone to see (see Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). This improved image of yours must have been important to you personally, otherwise why all the money and effort for the Olympics? Why all the PR stories portraying you in such a positive light?
Just ask Kim Kardashian how quickly public opinion can change…but really, this isn’t about your public image. Mostly. This is about freedom. Once people have tasted it, they will not be satisfied with anything but, and the people of the former Soviet Union haven’t just tasted it, they see it on their smart phones as they communicate with the rest of the world, and have experienced it for themselves, at least compared to life under Soviet rule, for going on what, 20 years? Guess what, they love it. And they want more of it. But freedom isn’t just about being able to say or do whatever you want to, it’s about being able to learn and grow, to become something so much more than what you can when held down and crushed like an olive. It’s about becoming anything you put your heart and mind to. It’s also about being able to hand that priviledge down to your children, and their children, and so on. Look at any people who have become free after years and years of oppression and you’ll find an energy and enthusiasm for life and its possibilities that is beyond priceless. But you already know that. And I’m guessing it scares you a little. Maybe a lot. What do you do with millions of people who want more out of life, and more from the government that is supposed to protect and serve them? Now you know what our government goes through every year. it’s not easy. But it’s worth the price and effort - freedom is awesome!
Where governments and dictators once easily ruled and oppressed their countrymen, that’s not the case any more. Or at least that’s not the direction this world is moving. The internet has changed everything. It opened up lines of learning and communication that are almost impossible to close (just ask China). You can no longer keep freedom out of people’s awareness and minds - the cat is out of the bag thank God! The world wont stand for it, and neither will your people or the people of Ukraine.
There’s one person who can become a real hero by changing or managing the outcome of this to something positive and more feel-good than the Olympics, and that sir is you. Not only that, but everyone is watching to see what you’re going to do. If you want to show the people of this world that you are a great, inspired leader of integrity, then help the people of Ukraine. Help them establish real freedoms. Create a bond of unity with them rather than trying to rule them with an iron fist. And just to be clear, a positive outcome is not putting that good-for-nothing lout of a ‘President’ back into office. Did you see his ‘home’? The rest of the country is in economic crisis and this guy lives like a king, and kings who ignore the suffering of their people don’t last very long (see French Revolution among others). No, a positive outcome would be to help the new guy and government get their feet under them and figure out how to get their country out of the disaster the other guy put them in. You do that and you will have truly changed the world and made a difference. Otherwise, you’ll just end up like the rest of the oppressive bullies in history, and as a reminder, history isn’t kind to them. And in case you have’t been following the trends these days, bullying is passé. Nobody likes a bully. Why? Because it’s wrong. And it’s mean. Worst of all, it breaks people’s spirit, and broken people are not a good thing for any country or economy. Nor your image.
You talk big, now lets see you act big. Do the world and the people of Ukraine a huge favor and help them. Support them. Earn their love and respect. Be the man you want us to believe you are. It’s your choice, so make it count.
a.k.a. US and World Citizen