Dear Jennifer,

These are the Origins of my Political Views:

My parents, my mother’s parents and I, emigrated from Soviet Union in 1976, in August. It was the Centennial Year of the United States, a big birthday for this country. Not only that, we came to Colorado, The Bi-Centennial state, established in 1876, celebrating its 100th birthday.

The feel of patriotism was strong in the air, like the smell of burning leaves at the beginning autumn, and a sense of longing, while families were playing football in the front lawns. We were placed in an apartment, and my parents were taking English lessons from the Jewish Community Center. It was at JCC were we met Isaac Stern, a visiting Russian-speaking professor from Boston. He placed me with an American family, and for one week, in my second month in the U.S., I traveled to Mesa Verde with the Lindenbaums and their three kids who were all about my age and Isaac Stern, who refused to speak Russian to me during that week. From this adventure, I learned to be more compassionate to my parents in the future — to this day I remember how frustrating it was trying to explain the notion of “cartoon” to other kids.

I don’t think I can ever understand the kind of bravery it took for my parents to come to the States — for ideas and ideals, such as “freedom” and “democracy,” and “opportunity.” While anti-Semitism was, and still is, rampant in Soviet Union, and now, in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, etc., my parents were relatively well-off, better off than most, having their own apartment, not sharing a communal one, while not even belonging to the Communist Party. However, my grandfather was killed fighting in WW II while liberating Berlin, and my father grew up seeing and hating the inhumanity of the Soviet system very early on. He was chafing to leave, wanting me to have a better life in America.

Both he and my mother are registered Republicans, but they are political on basically one issue — Israel. They are not involved in local politics, do not vote in school election, and care only tangentially about governors and Senators, voting Democratic and Republican on individuals and judging them individually. However, as far as Presidents of the United States are concerned, where their stand on Israel is the most important thing to them.

To me, of course it matters. But so does the environment. So do jobs. So does immigration — which is a huge and complex issue. But, perhaps more than all of the above, at least now, what matters now, is the character of person in the highest office.

There is no question that we are a nation divided. And, as President Lincoln had stated, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” And, also, there is no question, that the President in office now is of low moral character, or no character at all. This is breaking my heart. It is breaking my spirit.

I have become so cynical, so disenchanted in politics, it is threatening to corrode my soul. Dangerous to democracy. I need to believe in the process I no longer believe in.

And, I find myself for the first time since I became a citizen of this great country, on December 3, 1982, contemplate leaving. Not abandoning my citizenship, but abandoning my country, a country I have loved since we have touched down on August 10, 1976 in the Kennedy Airport, in New York City.

I look around and see signs of Berlin, in the early 1930s, as Nazism slowly and insidiously crept its way into mainstream Germany. Ever so slowly I am failing to recognize my fellow Americans — “He’s not so bad.” “He’s a good businessman.” “He’s not really a racist.” “He’s better than a politician.” “He says it like it is.” “Fake news.”

But what I hear come out of Washington is — “Don’t believe your eyes. Believe only me.” “Truth is not the truth.” “There are good people on both sides.” (Neo-Nazis have good people???) “Alternative facts.” (That’s called a “lie” by any other name, please look that up.) “Putin is a good guy.” “Kim Jong Un is a good guy.” (Those last two are dictators who laugh and rub their hands together in glee and don’t even disguise their happiness when they see the President of these United States coming because he LOVES them. They, who have killed thousands (that we can prove) of their own people, not to mention their enemies. He ADMIRES them.) And so much, so much more, so much more.

But I cannot be any more bitter, any more cynical. I need to leave, or medicate myself more, or do something else, because I cannot do nothing. They will come for me next. You will have to ask yourself when they may come for you.

Written by

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.

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