THE BLOG
02/23/2014 08:44 am ET Updated Apr 25, 2014

This Time It's Personal

The world we live in precludes us from taking in the most horrible of horrors as they play out before us. It's too much. It's too fast. It's too unfathomable. We bite at the bits and pieces of news coming at us from every direction. We digest almost none of it. As time becomes more our enemy than friend, it will only get worse.

The reflective time of times gone by is gone forever. Even the quiet time is no longer quiet. Our world is running at the speed of light while we are cascading into darkness. In this case, darkness equates to sensitivity ignorance.

I know one needs to guard against preaching. One needs to refuse the soap box. Judgment needs to be resisted.

It makes no sense to indict our neighbors or fellow countrymen or the world for that matter for being benignly oblivious to the human tragedies unfolding at our informational doorsteps.

Too much! Too fast! Too unfathomable!

I live in the same vortex, spinning, sucked up into the whirlwind of information that's racing out of control.

It anesthetizes. It transports. It numbs. It takes despicable human conditions and reports them in bytes, coloring them vanilla. Even the atrocities shed the outrage they deserve.

Millions of humankind are slaughtered, displaced and forgotten while we shrug. It's not that we don't care. It's that we are so lost to binging on information we just can't process.

Add a distant fight for an esoteric political theory called democracy by a people half way around the world you have no common connection to and the insensitivity to their struggle for the freedoms we take for granted magnifies exponentially.

Today it's the Ukraine, a place and history I vaguely know. I have no understanding of the people. I have little understanding of how the country came to be other than it emerged from the former Soviet Union, cobbled together arbitrarily by powers long in their graves.

That is until my oldest son began consulting for a development group in Kiev. That is until my oldest son landed in Kiev the day the violence exploded and he was in a hotel a few blocks from Independence Square. That is because he is still there.

This time it's personal.

The numbers of the dead mounting from the snipers' aim, the fires burning and the smoke billowing through the windows, the chants Yanukovych must go shouted between the spontaneity of masses in the street breaking into the national anthem are not a scrubbed down version of a crisis of which I have no buy in.

This time it's personal.

I have feared for my son's well being every second of the last week. I have watched every live feed of the violence unfolding a football field away from where he was holed up, doing his work, I text him relentlessly, needing a dad's reassurance his son was safe.

I began calculating the time difference between south Florida and Kiev, sometimes hour by hour, praying his departure for home would hurry along, defy the clock that ticked so agonizingly slowly.

The events of the last few days have been. They are historic in many ways, at least from this outsider looking in. The magnitude of the drama and the measurement of the courage of the Ukraine people will come by those much more equipped to assess than me.

Democracy was, once again, center stage. If anything can't ever be denied much less ignored or discounted, it's the power of people determined to determine their own free destiny.

We are so far removed from the fight for liberty in our country that we have relegated our future and the future of our democracy to the often inane arguments of this political side or another.

We have little if anything to do with the scripts. We somehow find a sense of belonging identifying with one party or another or boast of our non-affiliation.

Maybe everything we cherish would feel a whole lot more real if we had a personal stake in the outcome of our political conversations.

Half way around the world, in Independence Square in Kiev in the Ukraine, with my oldest son in harm's way, I found the power and human necessity of democracy.

Next time the doorbell rings and it's democracy calling, make it personal. We'll all be better for it.