Americans during the pandemic have been asked to sacrifice for the greater good, and most have willingly done so.

But some were hesitant, and that minority has been exploited by people who saw COVID misinformation as a way to gain money and influence.

The result has been disastrous, as opposition to vaccines, masks and other COVID protocols has helped give the U.S. a far higher death rate than other wealthy countries.

As Ukrainians hold out heroically against annihilation, enduring unimaginable loss and fear, Americans once again are being asked to sacrifice — not by putting our lives, or the lives of our soldiers, in jeopardy, but through higher prices.

What will the result be this time? Will we endure the rising prices as the cost of standing up for our values, and our allies in freedom?

Or will we be pulled apart, again?


The pressure on our wallets is immense, and it is likely only going to get worse. President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a ban on Russian oil imports. The European Union, too, announced a similar move.

Even more than previous sanctions, the import bans are designed to hit Russia where it hurts: The Russian government depends on fossil fuel for a third of its revenue.

In such a connected world, American consumers are feeling it. Gas prices, already elevated by the pandemic, have shot upwards in response to the Russian invasion. They’ll only continue to rise as the bans inject more scarcity and uncertainty into the market.

That’s the unfortunate, unavoidable result of taking the necessary actions against Vladimir Putin and the threat he poses to Ukrainian independence — and to the very idea of a peaceful Europe, and a West united in freedom.

Biden, as well as governors like our own Janet Mills, should do what they can to lower the burden of rising gas prices, both in the short term, through direct aid and pressure on oil companies making obscene profits, and long term, by speeding up the transition to clean energy.

But it is worth every extra cent on gas, though, as long as it keeps our money from funding the Russian war machine and its human rights abuses in Ukraine.


Republicans agree that it is the right thing to do. But that won’t stop them from using the consequences to hammer their opponents.

Nationwide, Republicans have hit Biden for the rise in gas prices, saying he has kneecapped domestic fuel production when the truth is that crude oil production is projected to reach an all-time high in 2023.

The state party has done the same in Maine, going so far as to blame Gov. Janet Mills for gas prices that are rising not only throughout the U.S. but the world. It’s preposterous.

It’s bad enough that Republicans play this card during relatively calm times, criticizing any attempt to cut carbon emissions without offering any plan of their own — even as the effects of climate crisis, felt throughout the world, and in every corner of Maine, make action clearly necessary, and inaction as costly as can be.

But now they are pushing sanctions against Russia while planning to criticize Biden, Mills and other Democrats for the effects everyone knows those sanctions and the conflict itself will cause.

Such dishonesty may be good for their political prospects — high gas prices hurt people, and they’ll be looking for someone to blame.

But criticism unburdened by facts won’t help Americans deal with rising prices caused by a war across the world. It won’t help the U.S. transition away from fossil fuels, which is necessary both to save our planet and to get out from under the thumb of autocrats like Putin.

And it won’t help Americans do their part so that Ukraine has a chance to preserve its freedom — the kind of freedom that every American politician, on the right or left, say they cherish above all else.

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