COLORADO SPRINGS — The current Ukraine political tension is prompting thoughts of empathy for Pikes Peak Community College instructor Bruce McCluggage.
"One way is to recall and relate my own roots and where I come from and have those conversations with my mother, and to hear again the sacrifices others have made for me to be here." His grandmother and great-grandmother immigrated more than a century ago, to the United States from what they called "the old country." It was when Austria-Hungary was still a nation and his family lived in a border community speaking German, Polish, and Ukrainian.
The current tension has him reflecting on his ties to the region. "I always wonder what would it be like if they were still there. What would it be like if I was fifth generation still living right there in that place, on that border."
His current teaching position creates its own kind of conflict on the issue. In his philosophy and ethics courses he focuses on prioritizing the value of human life. "Can we find ways to connect, more than pull the trigger."
He works to practice the philosophies he teaches. Russia's threat to Ukraine now takes his thought process beyond textbooks and theories. There is his family tree to consider. "Are you willing to take a stand for your beliefs, for your faith, even though it may cost you very dearly." He has the advantage of civil debate from a safe distance. He is aware it is about life and death decisions for people on the border and in Ukraine.