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Confession of a Reluctant Tea-Partier


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American Thinker:

In the Soviet Union any mass expression of public sentiment was by definition a fraud. To participate in a demonstration of any kind meant a complete waste of a perfectly good day. All organizations got their quotas to provide a certain amount of bodies to march through the town celebrating state holidays. Being a child was no excuse -- I remember taking part in an annual May Day demonstration as a 10-year-old member of an ice-skating girls' group. The sacred duty of any self-respecting citizen was to avoid being drafted at all costs. I could not imagine that intelligent people could spend time and energy coming to a rally of their own free will.

My late and very much missed father used to say: "First, you have to know why you want to leave the old country, and only then to decide why you want to settle in a new one." Boy, did we know the first part! Our difficult journey to America started in 1978 and ended in 1987 -- nine long years of being "refuseniks," surviving persecution with humor and general youthful light-heartedness. There was no time or opportunity to follow the second part of my father's advice.

My family came to the United States the day before the Thanksgiving of 1987. Being intellectually curious, I immediately began wondering how this country functions and what makes the United States the envy of the world (don't believe all that criticism from outside -- it's mostly ignorance). As a confirmed bookworm I started reading everything in sight from the Constitution and Federalist Papers to the New York Times to National Review by way of the Economist and the Village Voice. My English improved dramatically but my respect for the media evaporated. However, I got some basic knowledge of American institutions.

My husband and I applied for US citizenship the day we became eligible. I think my examining officer got the shock of his life when during the interview I recited the Bill of Rights, named all Supreme Court justices and added the names of all elected officials of the state including our hapless congressman. Talk about useless knowledge! After that we proudly voted in every election, but the idea of venturing a political opinion never crossed my mind (an unfortunate result of being brought up in a totalitarian society where keeping your mouth shut is a basic rule of survival). There was something unseemly in proclaiming my deep love and appreciation of America for all to hear.snip
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