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Yeah, I know Putin’s supposed to be an undemocratic bogeyman (as the media keeps reminding me), but even after everything with Ukraine and Syria, I find it impossible to call him a villain. I’m your average American combat veteran with an interest in world history and geopolitics. I realize that Russian and American geopolitical interests rarely align. And it’s true that as an American nobody, it’s impossible to know the truth about the man, because any source of news regarding Russia is either biased, disguised propaganda, or anecdotal, and therefore unreliable with specifics. Deciphering news of Russia is a lot like looking at an impressionist painting.

So I can’t honestly call Putin an “evil guy”, but rather, just “a guy” (who we may or may not have to fight someday). But in this world, war happens and people die as a result. Even so, I have to admit that a part of me admires Putin’s consistency. He represents his nation’s interests, and seemingly better than American politicians represent American public interests (though they’re unparalleled in supporting corporate interests). Another thing about Putin, I doubt any other world leader would have the guts to give Edward Snowden safe harbor, and that too, is admirable to me.

So trying to smear Trump by drawing vague lines of connection to Russia, just doesn’t dissuade me from voting for him. If the public knew every shady source of funding and conflict of interest for every current American incumbent, you could probably swim laps in the resulting vomit — I can’t even think of a proper metaphor for that scenario. So when I hear the insinuation of some tenuous six degrees of funding from some Russian, I think to myself: “That’s the best they have to smear Trump with?”