August 5, 2016

The presidential election: Can we make a difference?


Dear Editor:

For the record I do not like Hillary Clinton and I have voted for the Republican presidential ticket since I could vote. I do care about social and economic issues affecting every American, but given the war in Ukraine, there is only one issue that we as Ukrainian Americans must focus on: Ukraine.

The Ukrainian issue “trumps” all other personal issues!

After the Trump team removed support for sending arms to Ukraine from the Republican platform – coupled with his prior financial ties with Russian gangsters and their representatives ( Bayrock, Sater, Lauria) who invested in his real estate; the hiring of campaign advisors Paul Manafort and Carter Page, both with ties to Russian money; his questioning the need for NATO; and his admiration of Vladimir Putin – there shouldn’t be a question for whom to vote: anybody but Trump.

Mr. Trump’s election would not only sideline a discussion on aid to Ukraine but would give Mr. Putin a clear green light to invade Ukraine and other neighboring countries, allowing him to accomplish his ultimate goal and messianic mission – re-establishment of the Russian Empire. The Russian sphere of influence moves back to and beyond the days of the USSR. The Russian military is in Ukraine and is poised for invasion of Eastern Europe and the Baltics.

A vote for Trump is a vote against Ukraine!

When it comes to U.S. elections, Ukrainian Americans are a statistically minor, divided, unorganized voting group.  The Central and East European Coalition is a coalition of U.S.-based organizations that represent their countries of heritage, a voting group of over 20 million people. The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America and the Ukrainian National Association are member organizations of the CEEC. Americans of East and Central European heritage can make a significant difference and influence the election result if their attention is focused.

On a top-down national level – the UCCA, the UNA and other diaspora organizations hopefully will do everything they can to get Ukrainian Americans mobilized.

In our local communities we must reach out to churches, organizations, community centers that have an affiliation with Central and East European countries. We need to develop literature that can be shared with other voting Americans of Central and East European ancestry.

The message to convey: the election of Trump and his laissez-faire attitude toward Eastern Europe and the Baltics will give Mr. Putin a signal to “do what you will – it is not the U.S.’s problem.” Mr. Trump’s non-interference and potential lifting of sanctions will have a devastating effect on the countries and people of their heritage, who could once again become subjugated under Russian control.

It starts with me, my family, my friends, my co-workers.

We need to connect with people who should have a common cause, conduct meetings with their members and present why it’s important for them not to vote for Trump.

The upcoming presidential election will be the most important election in which Ukrainian Americans will participate. We can make a difference with deeds not words.

Anybody but Trump!

I.P. Zwarycz

Morristown, N.J.