With democracy at stake in Ukraine, Americans come together

May 22, 2022

By Mirka Cuadros

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, there have been 15,442 detentions in Russia linked to anti-war actions, according to OVD-Info, a private organization that tracks protests and arrests. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s security agencies are working around the clock to quell protests, but Russians are refusing to accept his war.

Autocracies are on the rise, and the people of Russia know this from experience. Many Russians have expressed mistrust and opposition to a conflict they did not desire and about which they were not consulted. The death and damage perpetrated by Putin will cause the global community, as well as the Russian people, to think twice about putting their trust in a single strongman.

After witnessing what a totalitarian government is capable of, Americans will hopefully band together to strengthen their own democracy. Right now, the best thing Americans can do for the world is set an example of how a democracy can work. 

According to a critical issues poll conducted in March 2022 by the University of Maryland, only 27% of Americans, including Democrats and Republicans, believe the United States’ democracy is a good model for other countries to follow. The United States “used to be a good example but has not been in recent years,” according to 61% of respondents. The poll reflects the views of 1,320 respondents, and the sample was adjusted to reflect population estimates for Americans. 

Right now, the best thing Americans can do for the world is set an example of how a democracy can work.

Despite continued partisanship in the United States, The war in Ukraine has managed to bridge or narrow America’s political divide, as large bipartisan majorities reject sending U.S. soldiers to Ukraine even if Russia’s attacks continue. According to the University of Maryland poll, 65% of people, which include 68% of Republicans and 62% of Democrats, oppose deploying American troops.

Meanwhile, 83% support providing military weapons to the Ukrainian army, including 82% of Republicans and 86% of Democrats. Similarly, 89% of those polled, including 85% of Republicans and 95% of Democrats, support maintaining severe sanctions against Russia.

As strange as it may seem, the battle to preserve Ukraine’s democracy has brought America’s political parties together, as it rightfully should. These are unprecedented times, and they call for nothing less than unwavering efforts to preserve democratic ideals.

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