Politics over country, not in Ukraine

The following editorial was published in The Daily Sun on March 2, 2022.

OUR POSITION: Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Ron DeSantis went out of their way to snub President Biden Tuesday night and that conduct won’t heal the nation.

Two of Florida’s top three politicians were in the news for the wrong reasons Tuesday. They used President Biden’s State of the Union address to showcase their contempt for him and pander to those who would see our nation’s divide expand even wider.

Their petty actions set a bad example of what America and democracy are all about — coming at a time when people in Ukraine are showing the world how much freedom and democracy mean to them.

Sen. Marco Rubio boycotted the nationally televised address saying he did not believe in the health measures being requested. In other words he did not want to take a test to show he was COVID negative. His earlier complaints about wearing a mask were not valid since the requirement was lifted for the event.

DeSantis denied a request by the D.C. Metropolitan Police and the U.S. Capitol Police to send National Guard troops to Washington, D.C. to provide security for the speech. The governor, on Twitter, referred to the Biden administration as making the request when he said: “Last week, the Biden administration requested the assistance of state national guards to deploy to Washington, D.C. I have rejected this request — there will be no @FLGuard sent to D.C. for Biden’s State of the Union.”

What would it have hurt for Rubio to show up, as is expected of all the people we elect to represent us in Congress? Why couldn’t DeSantis put aside his aspirations to run for president in 2024 for a day and send troops as requested? The governor had no qualms about sending National Guard troops to Texas to patrol our border with Mexico.

We expect some criticism for our criticism. We can predict the calls for being a “liberal rag.” But this is not about politics. Everything in our nation right now is somehow turned into a political debate and, quite frankly, it’s getting old.

Americans, right and left, take every opportunity to steer the conversation to socialism, Trump, illegal aliens or a dozen other subjects that have become common talking points in the media and, unfortunately, dinner tables.

We hope Americans would instead look to Europe. Look at the proud, defiant people in the Ukraine who are risking their lives every day to protect their freedom which is under attack from a communist oligarch who has no problem spilling the blood of innocent people — children and women even — to force his will on a free country that he covets.

Could our divided nation put its difference aside if we were the ones being attacked? Do we love our country more than our politics?

Everyone knows by now how the Ukraine president — a person who is publicly being targeted by Russia’s army — refused safe conduct from his country and said he would stay and fight. You may also know of the former Miss Ukraine who has taken up a rifle and will stand with the nation’s army. Or, if you are a sports fan maybe you know of the two brothers, Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, both rich former heavyweight boxing champs who are fighting shoulder to shoulder with their army against the invaders from Russia.

We’d like to think Americans are like their counterparts in Ukraine. That our country and democracy are precious to us and we would fight to save them — not from liberals or conservatives but from real enemies.

We’re not proud of the actions of DeSantis and Rubio. Their supporters may be impressed, but their form of protest was childish and spoke of placing importance of politics over their country.Image Credits: Sun Coast Media Group