Unfolding by the minute, we watch horrified as Russia invades Ukraine, crimes against humanity and illegal strikes on innocent civilians. We ask: How can this happen in today’s world?
When I heard Putin’s military convoy 40 miles long was headed for Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, I figured we’d learn of the Ukrainian administration flying away in a helicopter and abandoning the city and people.
I’m embarrassed to say I thought those things, as I had never heard of the courageous leader Volodymyr Zelensky.
In the unfolding hours, to see this comedian-turned-president stand up to the biggest bully the world has seen in a while, I have become obsessed with admiration for a leader who is living the highest level of promise one can: Standing up for what’s right, even when you are cornered, and considered target #1, with your family target #2, as Zelensky has soberly articulated.
He was offered a way out by the US, but instead gave one of the greatest lines of courage in modern history: “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.”
Suddenly, the court jester has become the leader the world needs.
Facing certain fight and probable death, this conflict and state of this man has made me consider my level of resolution in the threat of danger to my family, friends, and the public at large, while asking myself WHAT WOULD I DO?
This is true leadership on a scale and level we haven’t seen against such a tyrannical leader since Churchill went nose to nose with another coward so many decades ago.
I generally don’t touch on politics in these posts or on social media, but this is a completely different discussion today – One man, one family, is leading the cause of freedom, democracy, and putting forth the courageous effort needed to inspire an entire country that was fleeing, and instead to stay put and battle it out.
This is a man who was a comedian, entertainer, and now putting forth the performance of his life on a stage with no director yelling cut to end the scene. What most don’t understand about performers is all must have extreme courage to do what they do on a stage anyway – and this proves the ethical mettle of this man – that he believes in what he leads for, he is deep down not just performing, but willing to sacrifice everything to take a stand.
Within that is a man made for the moment, to inspire his people and stop the rest of the world in our tracks to watch, pray, offer support in any way we can, and hope that each morning as the news is updated that he, his family, and his people, are alive one more day.
It is terrifying, but it is a masterpiece of promise living and leading.
If you don’t know, Zelensky came to fame on a sketch comedy show, eventually winning Dancing With The Stars in his country and voicing Paddington Bear. Upon portraying the role in a TV show of a patriotic and passionate teacher who accidentally ascends to the presidency of his country, Ukrainians decided he was their man and elected him to office.
For those who think that’s crazy, well, think of Reagan the actor, Trump the TV star, becoming presidents of the US, or even Arnold the action hero becoming Governor of California. The election of Zelensky doesn’t seem as crazy.
While the taking serious of a person who makes others laugh may seem like a tall order, and not everyone was convinced for a long time he was the right man to lead a country, until this horrific reality set in, now Zelensky has bravely answered the call of keeping The Promise, and together we cheer him on to stand firm in this moment of human history.
The Promise Prompt This Week:
What are you willing to stand for?
What is your Promise to fight for what you believe in?
In what ways are you like Volodymyr Zelensky?
~ Jason Hewlett
Husband, Father, Writer, Hiker, Coach
- Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Promise Legacy Coach
- World’s First & Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to teach the Power of Keeping Your Promise
- Author of “The Promise To The One”