November 26, 2013 3 Comments
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.
You 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.