Newsday said in its Kentucky Derby advance that Rich Strike only had a maiden-claiming victory to his credit and thus was “an easy toss out.”
The odds were long, very long, and yet he won, seizing the moment, shooting the gap and slipping through two of the leaders on the way to a wonderful headlong victory, one for a mom-and-pop stable in a country full of possibility for those who have heart, a country indeed worth cheering for, a country that has yet to fulfill its promise, as Rich Strike has — a country that has yet to hit its stride.
Probably many considered Ukraine too “an easy toss out” when it was invaded in February, and yet, with our help and with the help of many other countries morally outraged by Putin’s butchery of fellow Russian speakers the name of which he dares not say, calling his war “a special military operation,” the underdog has thus far stood up to him, and may even prevail.
It’s a possibility that has attracted the sympathy of many Americans, whose founding revolutionists were decided underdogs. We’re rooting for Ukraine, for a sovereign state whose citizens are being bombed daily, in apartment buildings, in hospitals, schools. Ukraine, though its people’s suffering has been appalling, has decidedly not been an easy toss out.
Might this widespread backing of clearly wronged Ukraine translate into a more unified America? Does it take an underdog’s grit to remind us that everyone counts and that we are indeed a country in which it’s all for one and one for all? A country of fairness, in short, rather one whose citizens are under the thumb of brute power, where saying what is obviously true, to wit, that it is a war Putin’s waging, subjects you to a prison term of up to 15 years.
But don’t get so carried away as to think that we, so accustomed to free speech, are immune to such thuggishness; it’s not an easy toss out.