Immigrant success story

I’ve been following the debates on changes that our government, with the help of career politicians and liberal press, are trying to force on the American people. I am worried that the political situation in the United States will transform this great country into something akin to the old, failed Soviet Union. I speak from personal experience.

After the end of the World War II, my family lived in the Western Ukraine, the Polish territory annexed to the Soviet Union. In 1948, my father, an ex-Polish officer, was falsely accused in a conspiracy against the Soviet government and arrested during Stalin’s purges, as were many loyal soldiers. We never saw him again. My mother, a German language teacher, was stripped of her diploma, and as a wife of a “people’s enemy” she was not allowed to teach anymore. Until she died she was persecuted and lived in fear of the KGB. In the country that was governed by the “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” in which everything belonged to people, she, like many others who suffered from Stalin’s cult, had no rights.

Thirty-five years ago as a political refugee, I emigrated from the now defunct Soviet Union with my three-year-old son. I had two options: to be permanently dependent on handouts from the “nanny state” or to learn English, gain a new profession, and become an equal citizen of the country with the greatest opportunities.

My life was not easy in the beginning. I am very grateful for the help I received from both government and charitable organizations. In the years that followed, I went back to school and worked in various jobs, constantly improving my knowledge. I started small, but every day I was moving toward my goal. I finally achieved my dream — completing my master’s degree in fine arts and in 1996 and opening my own interior design business.

When I became a citizen of the United States, I joined the Republican Party. I made this decision because being a Republican made me proud of myself. I achieved my goal — I became independent, and earned the freedom to live as I wanted, to worship religion that I chose, to think, to speak, to vote, — freedom to be an individual.

I am also happy for my children who are citizens of our great country. My two sons are equal members of the American society with equal opportunities for everything. I am happy that they and, hopefully, their children never will suffer from oppression by any totalitarian regime, be it socialism, communism or fascism.

I joined the Republican Party because the United States of America is a country which is governed by the people, for the people. It’s unfortunate that today many Americans have simply forgotten this. America is a nation of immigrants. For me, it was a beacon of opportunity and freedom. For far too many, it’s a place to go for “free stuff.” Freedom isn’t properly valued unless it’s earned.

Emilya Padlowski lives in Ridgefield. This column is supplied by the Republican Town Committee.


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