December 22, 2022

What Zelenksy’s sweatshirt means.

Pres. Zelensky ends his address to Congress by displaying a battle flag given to him by soldiers on the front line only 48 hours before. “This flag is a symbol of our victory…We stand, we fight, and we will win because we are united. Ukraine, America, and the entire free world.”


Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said that Zelensky’s green sweatshirt, emblazoned simply with Ukraine’s Trident, meant he was disrespectful, akin to a sleazy night club owner. Tucker has only to look in the mirror, or at those who helped the Insurrection, to find “disrespectful.”

Volodymyr didn’t wear a suit because he was coming to connect, democracy to democracy, to secure the world’s support for another year. Because he wanted to use every symbol, every moment, every photo at his disposal to remind a pajama-clad nation, cozy in our wintry homes, debating White Lotus and scrolling Instagram, that

this very moment, right now

his people are defending their homes. Their country. Their lives.

That his young and even older women and men are fighting for inches in bloody, muddy, bombed out cities that only recently hosted warm bright cafes, lights twinkling in the early evening.

That grandmothers have been shot in their kitchens.

That cyclists have been shot on the street.

That young women have been forced to live, naked, for weeks, in basements, floors strewn with used condoms, until they are shot in the head.

His people have no time for suits: they are lucky if they have electricity, hot water, a roof without the threat of a bomb over it. They aren’t debating trendy Christmas presents, they’re wondering if their loved ones, family, friends, community…if they’re alive.

His sweatshirt is a reminder that he is humbled, fighting, grounded in that reality, and that he needs us—all of us, to care.

And when Gaetz and Boebert refused to stop at the Capitol’s security screening, marching in to Zelensky’s address to Congress as potential security threats, refusing to applaud or stand unlike their colleagues…Volodymyr, in turn, is reminded how aggression lies here, too, and how vital his task is.

Let us support him. Let us support his people, democracy to democracy, free people to free people,

as long as it takes.

Cowards are aggressors and aggressors are cruel beyond measure, though they do not care. They are not worthy to lead, they do not know what service means, and they do not care.

We care.


PS: For those complaining online…

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