Mr. P. versus Mr. Z.

Published 11:35 am Wednesday, March 2, 2022

With the names Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin being spoken almost nonstop in the news these days, it makes me appreciate a nation where Tom, Dick, and Harry are the common names. It also makes me glad that I’m not a talking head on television making a living having to pronounce those names and others like them. For the sake of this column, today, I’m going to refer to these two presidents as Mr. Z. and Mr. P.

Mr. P. might have gotten too big for his britches, as we say here in the south. Using another familiar idiom, he might have bitten off more than he can chew. After threatening Ukraine for many months, actually years, Mr. P. finally pulled the trigger and invaded the nation directly to the west of his Mother Russia.

The story is a modern day David versus Goliath. Remember that story from Sunday school? Goliath stood on the hillside and, verbally, berated the much smaller Israel. Most of the nation cowered as the cocky Philistine giant begged for just one person to step forward and fight. Little David stepped forward and you know the rest of the story.

Mr. P. amassed his superior army on the borders of Ukraine and made blustery speeches that hardly made sense. In essence, he was saying, “I want Ukraine and, by golly, what I want I take.” There was only one problem and that was Mr. Z.

Mr. Z. began his adulthood as an actor and comedian. He was very successful as an entertainer, but in 2019 decided to run for the presidency of his nation. Talk about a midlife crisis! He won and, ironically, he began a dialogue with Mr. P. to decrease the tensions between the two neighbors. Obviously, Mr. P. thought Mr. Z. was continuing his career as a comedian.

Mr. Z. has turned out to be much more than an entertainer. It’s amazing how the former comedian has become an international symbol for courage and an inspiration to his countrymen and women. It’s called leadership and many leaders around the world could take some lessons from Mr. Z.

He has done the opposite of a leader that we saw last year. Remember when the going got tough in Afghanistan? Their leader, President Ashraf Ghani, tucked tail and ran, with millions of American dollars. The result? Afghanistan fell, figuratively speaking, in a matter of minutes.

In contrast, when the smaller Ukraine was invaded by the larger and much more powerful Russia, the president of Ukraine became an inspiring figure and example of resistance. He changed his clothes from the suit and tie of a president to army fatigues, picked up a Kalashnikov AK-47 rifle, and is showing the world what a modern day George Washington looks like.

I loved it when he responded to our government’s offer of an airline ticket to get out of “Dodge” since he was at the top of the list for elimination by Mr. P.

“I don’t need a ride,” said Mr. Z. “I need ammunition!” Sounds like a line from a John Wayne movie.

Ultimately, I don’t see a way that Ukraine can stand against Russia in the long run, but I think they have already proved to the world just how important freedom is to a nation.

Mr. Putin might be the president of a big dog nation named Russia and thought that his might made him right. But a former comedian by the name of Zelensky has shown him and the world what happens when you back a little dog into a corner. It’s not the dog in the fight that matters. It’s the fight in the dog!