Proud to Be An American and Conservative of Lithuanian Descent

Why am I conservative? I credit it to my Lithuanian heritage. Check out my first piece in LTUWorld below:

In the realm of politics, people are drawn to a cause by something greater than themselves. Some people are driven by issues, hardships, egos, or self-discoveries. In my case, I grew interested in politics – particularly American conservatism – because of my heritage and family history.

I belong to the group of nearly one million Americans claiming partial Lithuanian descent. As a first-generation American, I honor my Lithuanian roots in all that I do – particularly politics.

My family left Lithuania when it was occupied by the former Soviet Union. After spending two months in Italy, they came to America in January 1986. Both of my parents have roots in Lithuania. My father’s side is comprised of Litvaks (Lithuanian Jews), while my mother’s side is comprised of Lithuanian Catholics.

Both sides of my family were negatively affected by Soviet policies. On my mother’s side, her father -my grandfather Juozas Keblys – was imprisoned in one of Josef Stalin’s gulags at the Belomor Canal for 18 months for owning property and being Catholic. On my dad’s side, he and his family were castigated and discriminated against for being Jewish. My family hated seeing Lithuania suffer under socialism. As a result, they came to America to escape the nightmare plaguing their homeland.

My parents are ardent anti-communists who despise collectivism, so naturally they identified with American conservatism once they got here. They liked the notion of private property, free enterprise, constitutional rights, and religious liberty – concepts forbidden and discouraged in then-Soviet occupied Lithuania. As a result, their conservative views were passed down to me and my sister.

As a child, I was exposed to Lithuanian culture and customs. Whether it was yearly trips to the Lithuanian Fair in Los Angeles every October or mushroom hunting in the woods during summers, I learned to appreciate my Baltic roots. There was no escaping amber jewelry, cepelinai, or stories from the Old Country. In fact, I was able to experience Lithuania firsthand for three weeks when I was eight. I visited Vilnius, Klaipeda, Neringa, and Palanga; I also met relatives and explored old historical sites. (I hope to visit Lietuva again soon!)

As a young activist working in conservative politics, I’ve successfully made a name for myself by sharing my family’s story. Sadly, many Americans underestimate the rights and opportunities afforded to them here. As a result, I use the platform I have to encourage others to preserve America’s timeless values and heritage.
George Santayana famously opined, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I speak out against socialism in America because it inflicted harm onto my family and millions of others. I tell my family’s story to demonstrate why conservative values – not socialist ones – best ensure freedom and happiness.

Some “Lithuanians” were not happy that one can be conservative and of Lithuanian descent.
ltu scumYou can read more on this guy’s craziness here on Storify.

The Left is extraordinarily vicious when it comes to those boasting dissenting viewpoints.

I will continue to speak out and tell my family’s story.

 

Lithuanian Independence Day: Learning to Cherish Freedom Through the Eyes of Others

February 16 marks 95 years since Lithuania gained her independence.

You might be asking yourselves, “what is Lithuania? Is it a made-up country?” Despite boasting an exotic name, Lithuania is a real country with a rich history.

From February 16, 1918, until August 23, 1939, Lithuania enjoyed freedom and prosperity until the Soviet Union grabbed hold of it through the so-called German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact (Molotov-Robbentrop Act). From 1939 until March 11, 1990 (reunification), Lithuania was subjected to endless bloodshed, tyranny, and death under Lenin, Stalin, and other brutal dictators. Religious and/or ethnic persecution of Jews, Catholics, Christians, Lithuanians, Russians, Poles, and those who didn’t agree with Soviet communism was witnessed. The horror exhibited under Soviet occupation is inexcusable and should be rightly condemned. (I would know – my family personally suffered.) Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that many Lithuanians craved freedom and were determined to depose the Soviet Union.

Regarded as the land of “beer, babes, and basketball” to tourists, Lietuva (Lithuanian for “rainy country”) is an untapped treasure in Eastern Europe. Castles, sandy beaches, forests prime for mushroom hunting, and amber jewelry are yet to be discovered by most.

Vilnius, capital of Lithuania

Lithuanian amber

Svyturys, Lithuanian beer

If you’re looking for a unique place to visit this year, make Lithuania your top 2013 destination. Just don’t plan to bring a mail-order bride back with you.

Hill of Witches  – Juodkrantė

yewtreenights.blogspot.com

Hill of Crosses – Siauliai

sacredsites.com

Palanga Amber Museum – Palanga

(pgm.lt)

Gediminas Tower – Vilnius

(lithuaniantours.com)

Ninth Fort – Kaunas

(richardbloomproductions.com)

Trakai Castle – Trakai

(hqworld.net)

Lithuanian Sea Museum – Klaipeda

(balticsea.travel)

Lithuania was the first Baltic Republic to declare its independence from the USSR on March 11, 1990. The rebelliousness that fueled this has inspired many to speak out against collectivism and tyranny.

Our fellow Americans should look to people like my parents and others who’ve escaped here to better appreciate the freedoms afforded to them here in the United States.

Happy Independence Day, Lietuva!

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