Page 2 - MidWeek - August 24, 2022
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         2 MIDWEEK AUGUST 24, 2022
      Nameless But Not Forgotten
No one deserves to be a fatherless person. — Oleksandr Dovzhenko (Ukrainian writer, cinematographer)
              TBallot Blues ’22
he votes are in, and the real winner locally was ...
When I was a child, I was fascinated by reading about royal families and exploring their genealogy trees. One day, I decided to create one for my family. Everything began easily, but only to the stage of great-grandparents. That was because I did not know those who preceded them, and even my grand- parents couldn’t provide this information.
Ukrainian villages, but still looking quite mysterious.
It turned out that the most valuable treasure was hidden there. Opening
it, we found an embroi- dered dress (a vyshyvan-
ka, a traditional national Ukranian costume), which my grandfather’s great-grandmother had sewn herself. The mo- ment I touched it, I felt myself a little girl final-
ly holding the threads of direct connection to the suffering, the resilience,
the care and love of part of her ancestry.
with Katherine Bakai
   “ainokea.” Yes, the “who cares?” attitude prevailed
The author’s grandfather gifted
 once again in our August primary election as about 60% of registered voters opted not to vote. And that num- ber doesn’t include those who could have voted but didn’t even bother to register. One can extrapolate that the actual number of those eligible to vote — and who actually did vote — might be in the 30%-35% range.
her a vyshyvanka, a traditional h
Katherine Bakai lives in Kyiv, Ukraine. She is studying international law at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, motivated to make her con- tribution to transnational peace and justice in the fu- ture. She also adores explor- ing the history of her region, modern Ukrainian literature and writing her own short
Chasing The Light is pro-
duced by Lynne Johnson and Robin Stephens Rohr.
 Ukranian outfifit that his own great-
 grandmother sewed. PHOTOS
   Theories abound as to why people don’t vote, but it sure was easy this time. The election was on a Saturday and most people could simply mail in completed ballots they’d received in the weeks preceding Aug. 13.
As I got older, I learned that many of our relatives had died from famine or were ex- iled, so the memory of them has not survived. With deeper knowledge of the Ukrainian history of repressions, my de- sire for creating a family tree grew dimmer.
While some remain unenthused about taking time out from hectic schedules to vote on November’s Tuesday general election day (hint to decision-makers: make all elections on a Saturday), registering to vote and then not even scratching in some boxes on a ballot and putting it back in your own mailbox is a head-scratcher.
When the Rus- sian-Ukrainian war broke out in February, my grand- father called me and said that if something happened suddenly, he would like this vyshyvanka to stay with me so I could bequeath it to our future generations through the centuries and honor the memory of our ancestors.
That day I received one of the greatest missions of my life. Now at age 20, I finally re-
Some may worry about possible voter fraud, notwith- standing the facts confirming no widespread fraud being found (again) during the 2020 election in state after state, precinct after precinct — blue, red and everywhere in between. This is apparently the latest price we pay in a post-truth democracy. Genuine, sincere indifference amid rampant mistrust.
But one day my grandfa- ther and I went to clean the abandoned house where he
alize that knowing the names of those who came before me was not absolutely nec- essary to preserve our family heritage. A precious memory of them is encoded in this vyshyvanka, which waited in a chest for 150 years to unite me and my nameless, but never forgotten, ancestors.
Granted, some local races were not scintillating. Sometimes dinner’s not scintillating, yet eat we must. Democracy is messy and negative campaigns abound (as they have in America for 240 years), but civics has sadly become just an afterthought for far too many, alongside empathy and respectful listening skills.
wooden chest — a common thing for storing clothes in
had been born.
In the attic, we found a
New Century Schoolbook bold (scaled H 73.6)
SPEED BUMP by Dave Coverly
              A more vigorous two-party system locally might en- courage more interest, quality choices and action, but if ballots delivered on a silver platter (or via a white, red and blue USPS truck) isn’t enough to encourage registered vot- ers to set aside 15 minutes, you wonder what it will take.
In 2020, 70% of registered voters here voted, partly due to the national election reality show (contrived, like all reality shows) that titillated even jaded habitual nonvot- ers. Some folks want to make voting easier; others, more difficult. Most foreign democracies trounce us in voter turnout. There’s more information available on issues and candidates than ever before — some of it is actually factu- al. So, how do we turn this disillusionment, muck and ap- athy around? Or must “ainokea” continue to win handily?
            Think about it.

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