The Right to Choose

I rolled out a huge post about the elections, but then erased it all to hell.
It’s boring, although, to be honest, it’s also boring for you.
Let me tell you one story about being convinced of the rightness of your ideas.
There is a woman, Lyubov Mikhailovna Chernykh from Lugansk. I wrote about her in 2015. This woman lost a leg and an arm during the summer of 2014 when she was scooping out dead chickens. The chicken farm was hit by several shells, the chickens all died and started to rot. To prevent the plague from spreading to other parts of the farm and to the city itself, the chickens had to be removed as quickly as possible. It was unusually hot, and the corpses were decomposing, turning into a plague- and maggot-ridden sludge. The workers and local inhabitants all went out to clean up the mess. It was impossible to remain inside the farm sheds for long–the women (and it was mostly women) were collapsing from the heat and the stench.

Keep in mind the city was being shelled all this time. They fired, fired, fired, and fired. You can ask any inhabitant of Lugansk who did not succeed in leaving the city during the summer of ’14 about what was happening in the outlying villages of Novosvetlovka, Khryashchevatoye. People were communicating using notes, got water from wells, risked their lives just by going to get bread at the store. Bakers risked their lives bringing loaves to the shops, and route taxi drivers risked their lives every minute when taking people around the city.
Lyubov Mikhailovna Chernykh risked her life when she went to collect dead chickens when she found herself in a shell’s blast radius. She lost her leg and arm. We bought a wheelchair specifically for her, one that can be operated with only one hand. I write about this many times, so it’s awkward to retell the same story.
But I can’t keep silent after reading thousands of comments about the election. Where everyone knows what is right.
So here goes.
This woman became disabled. When she called her own brother in Dnepropetrovsk, or Dnepr, as it’s now proper to call it in Ukraine, he told her “she’s lying”, that they are “separatists” and it’s their own fault. He did not believe his sister about the lost leg and arm. And when he saw her in person a year later, he cried. Cried fro two days, and never again talked about politics.
Where’s this going?
It’s not about the making the correct choice now. Even though I find it unpleasant to read the dismissive posts and articles about “other” voters. It’s that condescending, patronizing tone which kills any message, even a positive one.
But you should be afraid, even as you deny something to the point of foaming at the mouth, of ever becoming Lyubov Mikhailovna’s brother.
After than, you may cry for a long time. Anything is possible.

I was surprised by such a total disrespect of someone else’s position. Total.
Many wrote that if someone made a choice different from yours, it’s because they are stupid/uneducated/coward/traitor, etc. Assuming, of course, that they themselves are bees’ knees! A fount of wisdom, analysis, and statistics, economy and politics. But those who chose differently are “dumb”, “slaves”, etc.

I’m in shock. From both sides.
Everyone has a right to their own position, and you are obligated to give that right to other people as well. And should acquiesce to the fact that other people exist, and that they may think differently, even though that may seen wrong to you. It’s obvious that you, should you ever become president, would instantly solve all problems.
I always thought education was very important. But it isn’t.
Not smarts, not education, not regalia, not degrees. All of that is fake. One can be educated, well-read, and still be scum, a cowardly piece of dirt who betrays.
One can have no education but have an open soul, earnestness, and accomplish great deeds when the smart run so fast their pants fall down. Like these route taxi drivers, some of whom barely graduated from the 9th grade, who are risking their lives and to whom I feel closer than educated scum who abandoned their parents in the war zone, saying “you voted, it’s your own fault.”
I’m currently in LPR, so I’m particularly not in the mood to read that kind of garbage.
I don’t know who is guilty in what is happening on the Donbass, though I realize that many seem to know for sure–aren’t these happy people.
It’s probably Gorbachev. Or Yeltsin. Kravchuk, Kuchma, and Yushchenko. Or Putin. And, of course, Yanukovych and Poroshenko. It’s a huge ball of yarn, a chain of missed opportunities that did not begin in 2013, with the Maidan. It’s far deeper and more complicated. And the deeper I descend into the events, the more I get lost. We’re probably all at fault.
And everything probably begins when we deny the right to choose to other people.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *