Little Things Are Big: On War, Despots and the Power of Being Brave, Kind People

Marla Rose
4 min readMar 4, 2022

It’s such a painful time, isn’t it?

Emerging from winter after having been through more than two years of grief, loss, chaos and peril, and now a despot in Russia has decided that the time is ripe to really turn up the heat on all of the above. I mean, if you were a power-mad tyrant, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t a violent invasion that threatens not only a sovereign nation but Western democracy just be the rancid cherry on the top of a shit sundae? To a regular ol’ decent person, it defies reason but to a dictator, waging war on a much less-resourced country after a prolonged period of global disorder and instability makes all the logical sense in the world and, in fact, probably fills his system with all the feel-good hormones, the lack of which may actually be behind everything.

The feeling is we are all just along for the ride as the sociopaths steer us off the cliff, the capital S ones who hold nations in their clutches and the little s ones who just hold us hostage to their tantrums against public health measures.

It’s a lot. It’s understandable if you’re feeling despair. Last week, I wrote about an experience with my son, who is 19, sensitive, and grew up in this era of school shootings and climate change. I grew up a bullied kid with a raging alcoholic parent and it’s ridiculous how much more carefree my childhood was compared to his.

TW; if you’re feeling depressed, you might not want to read this.

My sweet son.

We were going to school this morning. It’s cold and drizzly. We were listening to one of his stations on Pandora and somewhere after George Harrison sang “Here Comes the Sun,” the music got even more wistful, ending up on Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s gorgeous interpretation of “Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World” and I looked over and he was crying. Not weeping, but definitely wiping away tears. I was, too. I didn’t know if he was just moved by the music.

No, he was moved by the contrast.

Ukraine has been on his mind a lot. He has so much empathy for the Ukrainian people. He has done a lot of studying of the history of Ukraine, what they have been through in just the last century, the endless cruelties and…