Assimilation Isn’t Criminal; It’s American

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The Washington Post published a mind-numbingly bizarre article on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal suggesting he’s not Indian anymore because he assimilated to the American way of life. Jindal, 44, is the 13th Republican to jump into the 2016  presidential race.

Here’s what WaPo wrote:

Jindal’s status as a conservative of color helped propel his meteoric rise in the Republican Party — from an early post in the George W. Bush administration to two terms in Congress and now a second term as Louisiana governor — and donors from Indian American groups fueled his first forays into politics. Yet many see him as a man who has spent a lifetime distancing himself from his Indian roots.

Here’s more:

As a child, he announced he wanted to go by the name Bobby, after a character in “The Brady Bunch.” He converted from Hinduism to Christianity as a teen and was later baptized a Catholic as a student at Brown University — making his devotion to Christianity a centerpiece of his public life. He and his wife were quick to say in a “60 Minutes” interview in 2009 that they do not observe many Indian traditions — although they had two wedding ceremonies, one Hindu and one Catholic. He said recently that he wants to be known simply as an American, not an Indian American.

“There’s not much Indian left in Bobby Jindal,” said Pearson Cross, a political science professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette who is writing a book on the governor.

“There’s not much Indian left in Bobby Jindal.” WHAT??

Governor Jindal is Indian and always will be. I reckon he’s very proud of his heritage, as he should be. So what if he’s Catholic and has adopted an Americanized name?  That doesn’t make him any less Indian. He should be applauded for pursuing the American dream, honoring his family, and realizing his individual potential. Why can’t we just judge people on the content of their character and not their skin color?

Commentary Magazine brilliantly counters WaPo’s assertion that Jindal isn’t Indian enough:

Jindal, whose boilerplate stump speech focuses extensively on his parents’ backgrounds in India and the trials they endured in order to provide him with the opportunities that he made the best of in the United States, has committed what the left regards as the unforgivable sin of rejecting identity politics altogether. The Pelican State governor called those who preoccupy themselves with prejudging their fellow Americans based on their skin colors “dim-witted” and added that his family has refused to consider themselves “hyphenated Americans.”

“My dad and mom told my brother and me that we came to America to be Americans. Not Indian-Americans, simply Americans,” the governor has said. “If we wanted to be Indians, we would have stayed in India. It’s not that they are embarrassed to be from India, they love India. But they came to America because they were looking for greater opportunity and freedom.”

What could possibly be wrong with assimilation? Everything, according to the Left.

Leftist logic suggest when people reject identity politics and don’t tow the line, they’re traitors who boast self-hatred. To them, playing off one’s race, gender, etc., is politically expedient and beneficial to to their cause. (Unfortunately for them, when their policies are implemented, they fail miserably and leave people worse off. Look at the former Soviet Union, Cuba, and other places ravaged by democide and cradle-to-grave government.)  If someone doesn’t subscribe to a leftist worldview, pejorative slurs and insults are hurled their way. So much for civility…

Why can’t we be individuals all the while revering our heritage? It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, European, Asian, African, etc. If someone wants to advance themselves as individuals, they should be celebrated–not demonized. We can’t stand for this demagoguery anymore.

I’m convinced the only immigrants our counterparts on the Left celebrate are those who come here illegally or those who don’t assimilate to the American way of life. If immigrants choose to assimilate, they are self-hating. Who less finds logic so contorted today?

Like millions first-generation Americans out there, I’m proud of my immigrant parents for assimilating to the American way of life. My parents came here in 1986 from Lithuania when it was still occupied by the Soviet Union. They came here virtually penniless with our relatives and feared for their lives in the process of fleeing Soviet rule. (They are grateful to have received political asylum.) Both my mom and my dad learned English, worked in their respective industries, launched businesses, and gave my sister and I a good life. Are my parents any less Lithuanian for becoming American? Hell no. My parents still retain their accents, customs, and Old World wisdom. It’s physically and biologically impossible to erase one’s heritage.  Though I’m American born, I can proudly tout my Lithuanian heritage all the while being American. Bobby Jindal touts his Indian heritage and is a proud American.  The values instilled in us by our families, regardless of our origin, are uniquely American. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Assimilation isn’t criminal; it’s American.

Agree? Disagree? Weigh in below.

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Summer Food Bucket List: Woodbridge Food Truck Festival

Gabriella Hoffman:

My sister and I will be partnering with Eventbrite this summer for our food blog A Taste of Patriarchy! How cool is that? We’ll be profiling the Woodbridge Food Truck Festival.

Originally posted on A Taste of Patriarchy:

This summer, we are participating in Eventbrite‘s Summer Food Bucket List project–an opportunity to blog about food festivals or events we’re planning to attend this summer. After looking through Eventbrite’s list of food festivals in our area, we will be attending Woodbridge Food Truck Festival on July 11th, which will take place in Manassas, Virginia, at the Prince William County Fairgrounds.

Food trucks are a revolutionary enterprise in America today. In an era of big government, it’s encouraging to see an explosion of food trucks here in the Washington, D.C., metro area and across the country. Why are food trucks so controversial, you ask? Their existence aggravates those who seek to control and restrict competition. Not only do food trucks provide a variety of products, but they also offer consumers quality food for an affordable rate. These small businesses are certainly making customer satisfaction a high priority through creativity and affordability, and…

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Happy 25th Anniversary of Reunification, Lithuania!

 

Credit: LTUWorld

Credit: LTUWorld

On this day 25 years ago, the Baltic Republic of Lithuania broke away from the Soviet Union. (It was the first Baltic to do so.)

Here’s more about this important historical event from LTUWorld:


Lithuania marks the 25-year anniversary of the restoration of its independence.

We Believe in Freedom. We always did. For centuries from the beginning of Lithuanian statehood to the present day.

Having restored Lithuania’s independence 25 years ago two out of three Lithuanians personally remember that thirst for freedom and how comforting the first gulps were. We remember how good it felt to return to Europe, to be back home where freedom is an underlying value.

11th March 1990 was the day when Lithuanians became free to choose, to grow, to be themselves. And we try to do our best.

***
If you are interested in how the world press reacted to the restoration of Lithuania’s Independence in 1990, check out this source: http://parodos.lnb.lt/en/exhibits/show/paroda-kovo-11

Grateful to have immediate roots in a country that prizes faith, freedom, and free markets.

Happy Reunification Day, Lietuva!

Planning to Travel in 2015? Visit Lithuania

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Who else is digging the love Lithuania is getting lately from travel blogs and similar publications?

The Baltic nation of Lithuania has a special place in my heart. For those who know me personally, I often boast about my Baltic roots and showcase delicious food from my ancestral homeland. I can’t help that I appreciate my Lithuanian roots! (Last Friday marked 29 years since my parents and relatives left then Soviet-occupied Lithuania for the U.S.)

For those of you shaking your head questioning whether or not Lithuania is a real country: Yes, it’s a real country with a rich history. It’s also a freedom-loving, rebellious, deeply Catholic (socially conservative) country giving Russian oligarch Vladimir Putin massive headaches. (And rightly so!) Moreover, I’m proud to say that my Lithuanian heritage has tremendously aided me in advancing conservatism.

What is Lithuania known for? In short, basketball, beer, and beautiful women. The first written mention of Lithuania dates back to March 9, 1009. It’s also the largest and most populous of the Baltic Republics. Additionally, Lithuania was the first Baltic Republic to declare its independence from the Soviet Union on March 11, 1990. (How cool is that?)

Need a reason to visit the Baltic Republic?

Lonely Planet listed Lithuania as one of the top 10 countries to visit in 2015:

Rebellious, quirky and vibrant, Lithuania (Lietuva) is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. Though the country rarely makes it into newspapers outside its borders (and when it does, it’s for some basketball exploit), the southernmost of the three Baltic countries holds a bag of treats.

Lithuania joined Singapore, Namibia, Nicaragua, Ireland, Republic of Congo, Serbia, the Philippines, St Lucia, and Morocco on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015 list.

And Forbes also listed Lithuania as a top travel destination in 2015:

It’s also home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the old town of capital city Vilnius, a Baroque masterpiece and one of the largest old towns in Central and Eastern Europe; and the Curonian Spit, a 60-mile peninsula of spectacular beaches stretching south into Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave. Once heavily forested, it’s now the pride of the country and backed by Europe’s largest moving sand dune.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly caught the travel bug. Last time I was in Lietuva was in August 1999. (I was eight at the time.) Hoping to pay a visit in the near future, especially sometime later this year!

Would you want to visit Lithuania this year? Weigh in below!

Happy 29th Freedomversary, Mom and Dad!

On this day 29 years ago, my parents arrived in the United States in search of a better life.

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[Aren’t my parents adorable? They’ll be celebrating 33 years of marriage in April.]

I often brag and boast about my parents because, well, they’re awesome. Not only that, they are the best [naturalized] Americans I know! They came here virtually penniless from the now-defunct Soviet Union in search of a better life. (Soviet attitudes still thrive in Russia today.) Their first home, Lithuania, was sadly ravaged by Soviet policies. Thankfully the country is now free.

I recently watched “Moscow on the Hudson” (1984) which starred the late Robin Williams. In the film, there is a profound scene featuring a swearing-in ceremony for soon-to-be naturalized Americans. Here’s a relevant quote from that scene:

 …Today you will become citizens of the United States of America. No longer are you an Englishman, Italian, a Pole or whatever, neither will you be a hyphenated American. From this day you are no longer a subject of a government, but an integral part of the government, a free man. May you find in this nation the fulfillment of your dreams of Peace and Security, and may America in turn never find you wanting in your new proud role of citizen of the United States…

This scene will certainly have an impact on you. Becoming American used to be lauded. Now, it’s “xenophobic” and “insensitive” to suggest people should assimilate to the American way of life. My parents retain many aspects of Lithuanian culture, but understand that success in America comes with blending into society. Without a doubt, American citizenship is a great privilege. Cherish it more!

I’m proud to be a daughter of legal immigrants from Lithuania. My parents sacrificed so much to come here to achieve the American dream. My sister and I are eternally grateful to them for giving us a good life here in the U.S.

Happy 29th Freedomversary, Mom and Dad!

25th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall Fall: Tyranny Still Thrives Today

On this day 25 years ago, the Berlin Wall fell . This soon led to the physical collapse of the Soviet Union. This pivotal moment in history freed millions of people behind the Iron Curtain, including members of my family in Lithuania.

Below is footage from that fateful day:

Here’s a picture I took of a remnant of the Berlin Wall at Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Library in August 2012.

 

The fall of the Berlin Wall was symbolic in that it led to the physical collapse of the Soviet Union. It was also the tireless efforts of Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II–along with the indomitable freedom-loving people of Eastern Europe (including members of my family in Lithuania)–who brought the end of the USSR. From Solidarity in Poland to the Baltic Way in the Baltic Republics, the perseverance of those in Eastern Europe helped pivot the end of the Soviet Union.

Though the USSR collapsed, its pernicious ideas still permeate today. Putin’s Russia is Neo-Soviet, and he says the Hitler-Stalin Pact was justified. Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, and countless other countries still practice tyranny today. And American universities whitewash Soviet crimes and even justify them. Marion Smith of Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation wrote an important op-ed in Wall Street Journal highlighting the danger of communism’s lurking presence:

To tear down that wall will require the same moral clarity that brought down the concrete and barbed-wire barrier that divided Berlin 25 years ago. The Cold War may be over, but the battle on behalf of human freedom is still being waged every day. The triumph of liberty we celebrate on this anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s destruction must not be allowed to turn to complacency in the 21st century. Victory in the struggle again totalitarian oppression is far from inevitable, but this week we remember that it can be achieved. 

It’s important to educate people about global communism’s horrors and call for equal condemnation of Soviet crimes. I urge you to support groups like Victims of Communism to further educate the country about the horrors of global communism.

Remember to never forget.

New Counter Cultured Article: Be an Individual in the Era of Big Government

I’ve penned a new column up at Counter Cultured today titled “Be Classic in the Era of Big Government.”

Here’s an excerpt:

I was recently listening to MKTO’s megahit “Classic” for some inspiration. While this song is centered on love, it can be applied to anything. If you haven’t heard the song, below is a sample of the song’s lyrics:

You’re over my head
I’m out of my mind
Thinking I was born in the wrong time
It’s love on rewind,
Everything is so throwback-ish (I kinda like it, like it)
Out of my league
Old school chic
Like a movie star
From the silver screen
You’re one of a kind living in a world gone plastic
Baby you’re so classic
Baby you’re so classic
Baby you’re so classic

While government may not have direct involvement in every cultural phenomenon, its promotion of paternalism and complacency is greatly seen in pop culture, religion, business, and politics today. It’s better to be classic, or independent-minded, than a conformist in an era marked by invasive big government.

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.