By David Carlson

Dear Mr. Putin,

I know that both of us are busy, you with trying to remake the world in your image, I with my grading, but I thought I’d drop a note to ask you to please give me my country back.

Democracy is not something you understand and respect, and I admit that democracy can be messy. But that mess is our mess, and we actually like the suspense of wondering whom Americans will elect into office. You definitely ruined the 2016 election for us with all your dirty tricks to get your buddy elected.

For the three million more who voted for Hillary than Donald, you were the Grinch who stole our Christmas. You played us, and we’re left with a sour taste in our mouths.

But as someone has said, that’s all blood under the bridge. Yet, you persist in meddling, which has to stop. At your request, Donald allowed Russian journalists to sit in on his conversation with your ambassador, while American journalists were excluded. In this meeting, your buddy Donald through your ambassador gave you classified intel that even some in our own intelligence community were ignorant of. All that makes me wonder which nation’s flag was flying that day in the Oval Office.

Look, as one survivor of the Cold War to another, let’s not mince words. Your invasion of the Ukraine led to European and American sanctions for this aggression. You blamed Obama for this slap in the face, and I am quite sure I understand why.

Obama represented all that you consider weak about democracy. He led the nation even as he took the high ground when racial and personal slurs were uttered against him and his family. He sought the advice of allies as he faced one crisis after another in the Middle East. He not only considered what was best for the U.S., but what was best for the world. But I think we both know what really galled you about Obama was his absurd notion that telling the truth is important.

Your concept of leadership, of course, views truth as constructed, rather than respected. In your understanding of the world, the truth is what you say it is. If I listened to you and Donald, I might believe Russia is a great ally in the fight against ISIL, not a nation that is propping up that master of genocide, Assad. No doubt this cavalier attitude toward truth is something you learned in Stalin 101.

With you, Donald is learning from a master, but please understand that most Americans know that a lie, in the end, is just a lie, not an alternative fact.

Of course, you have crossed moral lines that Donald simply can’t. Citizens who hold up a protest sign in the streets of Moscow can be carted off to jail. Despite Donald’s rage, Americans will continue to resist with massive protests in the streets. Political opponents and journalists critical of your regime are found shot or poisoned, no matter where they live in the world. All Donald can do is fire those with integrity and wish that he could jail journalists.

Finally, please note the era of your pranks against America is coming to a close. We’re on to your tricks, and, face it, Donald isn’t exactly clever. The day is near when we will flush your unwelcome influence out of our system. But cheer up. Assad will still love you.

David Carlson is a professor of philosophy and religion at Franklin College. Send comments to