Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on Friday morning encouraged Americans to learn from Ukrainians who are standing up against Russian President Vladimir Putin's invading forces.
"The people of Ukraine are inspiring to the world," Rubio told a crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida.
As Rubio spoke, Russian troops continued their attack on Ukraine and the capital city of Kyiv.
The senator cited average Ukrainians, including elderly men and woman and young children, who were "taking up arms, prepared to sacrifice everything."
"It reminds you how valuable freedom and liberty are," Rubio said. "These are people that are basically saying, We refuse to be Putin's slaves. We refuse to live under tyranny, and we’re prepared to give our life and die for it.
"It should remind us of two things. How precious liberty and freedom is. How quickly it can be lost. And the second thing it should remind us is that the reason we've had freedom, and we've had liberty, is because people at one point were willing to do that for our country here. They were willing to die, and they were willing to sacrifice."
Rubio said today's cancel culture of wokeness resembled what happened in Marxist countries, from where many Americans emigrated.
"There's now a speech code," Rubio said. "Every single person in this room, and the overwhelming majority of people that you know, are one word away … it doesn't matter if you were 13 when you said it … you're one word, you're one statement, you're one retweet, you're one 'like' away from destroying your life."
A son of Cuban immigrants, Rubio admitted he took for granted "warnings" his parents and other immigrants from places such as Venezuela and Nicaragua tried to instill in him during his younger days. They tried to explain to him "what happens to a society and to a people when we empower people whose job it is to tell the rest of us how to live, and think, and believe, and how we are allowed to do it."
"Imagine that you once lived in a country that you had to flee because in school, they were telling your kids that God didn't exist, turn your parents in if they say something against the revolution and, by the way, your parents maybe arrested or even executed depending on what they did," Rubio told the CPAC crowd.
"And now imagine you're living in a country and some of the same things seem to be happening again. Now, your kids are being told in schools things about history, about society about our country that simply are untrue. That's the way it started there, too."
Rubio warned that while laws and office holders can be changed, not everything can be fixed.
"When freedom is lost and eroded, it is so hard to reclaim it and get it back," he said.
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