At the end of the day, however powerful or powerless any one of us is, each of us — Donald Trump, Denis Davidov, Vladimir Putin — is just a human being, trying to make the best of it for the years we have on the planet.

Putin’s father, also named Vladimir Putin, was severely disabled and disfigured during the war; his starving mother, placed on a pile of dead bodies during the siege of Leningrad — all this before Vlad was born — only to be rescued when she moaned.  Putin grew up in a small communal apartment in Leningrad.  He became a martial arts champion, a lawyer, and, well, you know the rest.  A journalist-murdering, country-looting autocrat; possibly the richest man in the world.

Trump’s father, Frederick Christ Trump, was arrested after a 1927 Ku Klux Klan rally in 1927, investigated by a US Senate committee for wartime profiteering — when Donald was just 7 — and by the Justice Department for civil rights violations once Donald had joined the firm.  He grew up with a bone spur, but otherwise seems to have suffered no great hardships — even winning a spot in the WWE wrestling hall of fame — and, again, you know the rest.  A journalist-demonizing, autocrat-lover; possibly one of the thousand, or almost surely one of the ten thousand, richest men in the world.

Denis Davidov you likely don’t know, but if you take the time to meet him, I think you will like him a lot.  What a good, gentle soul he is.  And you will see the connection — how Putin’s Russia forced him to seek asylum in our great country; and how Trump’s America, despite his valid asylum papers and fully paid-up income taxes, handcuffed, shackled and imprisoned him.  (Don’t worry: it’s the holiday season. There’s a happy ending.)

There are so many fine leaders in the world.  But thugs — being thugs, and willing to do the ruthless, bullying things thugs do — have a leg up in the competition and all too often rise to the top.  Look at Duterte.  Look at Erdogan.  Look at Putin.

And — for a very funny 7-minute “closer look” — look at Trump.



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