An Open Letter to Vladimir Putin

Written by Stephanie Janiczek on September 16, 2013

Dear President Putin:

I know you probably are not that well versed in American History, American Culture and even our geography. You probably never studied the intricacies of the American Revolution, and even our Civil War. When I read your personal attack on the United States in the New York Times it screamed intentional ignorance. This is where bigotry and hate come from. Let me help you overcome that.

The United States isn’t like any other country in the world. We are not merely one nation under God even though we are. We are a union of sovereign states, who have governments of their own and inside those states there are local governments who are always the first point of contact for the people. You have this rather ridiculous view of this monolithic society and I find it fascinating, sir, because to me you are merely projecting the Russian state over the centuries. What you think you see in the US is not the US, it is merely a reflection of your country. How pathological of you.

Our ancestors came here to the US for several reasons. They were fleeing religious persecution, like the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock. Even the Catholics that started the state of Maryland came to the colonies to have a place to live without fear. That’s what the United States is, a place to live without fear.

Think about that concept: A Place to Live without Fear. Nothing like that has ever existed on the planet. People can worship God in their own way without fear. That doesn’t happen everywhere. And when the Founders created the US Constitution, it was the first time that concept was written down as not a right given by a faceless cold government, but God Almighty Himself. You see, Mr. President, there is no difference in God’s eyes between you and me and the guy down the street. Once you understand that humbling concept, everything about the United States becomes clear; and it is clearly why we are exceptional. One Nation, Under God. No nation says that or conceives of that. In the US it is the red thread that holds everything together.

Others came here to earn a living. To own land. Mr. President, do you realize what a concept that is? To own one’s own land and to farm it as one would want to? To owe no landlord rent? It is probably one of the most revolutionary concepts of American philosophy, property ownership.

Our lovely land from the East Coast to the West Coast, along with Hawaii and Alaska, is paradise. Our history is wrapped in the land. The roughhewn cowboy, the gun fighter even the GI were born of the wild, rugged beauty of this land. The land made us the independent nation we are. If you understand the relationship between Americans and their landscape from the deserts to the mountains, to the Great Plains to the oceans, you start to see us for who we are. Tough, solid and determined. The land has also made us exceptional.

My Grandfather came off the boat from Norway. He had nothing much but the clothes on his back, some things in a bag, and an address in Wisconsin where his older brother lived. He ended up in Readstown, Wisconsin, on a farm and actually had the opportunity he wouldn’t have in Norway, to own his own land instead of working land his oldest brother inherited from their father, as was the tradition in Norway. But, in the US anyone could own land because that was the opportunity the US provides for everybody.

Grandpa lost the farm during the Depression but he found other opportunities and he was a proud American till the day he died. Why? Because he never would have had the chances he’d had if he had stayed in Norway.

We made the world a better place. What nation at its beginnings can point to a Thomas Jefferson, a John Adams or his Excellency himself, General George Washington, as their founders? Three remarkable men who didn’t just read and write and do, they defined in their own ways what an American is supposed to be. I suggest you read about George Washington, and understand that is what we are.

I assume you believe we’ve lost that idea; however, as usual, you do underestimate our country which is exactly what your country did when you were still communists. You are fascists now, and you still underestimate us. It is always the same old story. But remember this: our current leaders are temporary and we’ve been underestimated before and for those who wish us harm it always comes back to hurt them. That’s just a reminder.

Image:; author: photo by the Presidential Press Service;

Stephanie Janiczek is a former Capitol Hill Staff Assistant, Schedule C Appointee and Leadership Institute alum. Military Wife, Hunter, Horse enthusiast, dog owner, writer and feminist kryptonite.