An immigrant’s perspective: Americans must persevere to regain our independence in 2024

An immigrant’s perspective: Americans must persevere to regain our independence in 2024
An immigrant’s perspective: Americans must persevere to regain our independence in 2024

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Now that we’ve celebrated Independence Day and the fireworks, barbecues, and other festivities are over, I’m wondering what independence really is. While the holiday commemorates the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, as an immigrant, the word independence has a special meaning for me. It encompasses a much broader concept than America’s separation from the kings and queens of the Old World.

I was born and raised in Soviet Russia. My parents did not agree with the communist system, but they did not actively rebel against it; it was pointless. The state apparatus that controlled the people was so strong that it was impossible to shake it. Instead, my mother instilled in me the idea that one day I would be free and independent because I would go to America. As a child, I did not know what America was and why I should flee to this unknown land, abandoning my family and friends in Russia. But I did not question my mother. I knew that she wanted the best for me.

In preparation for my new life, which was still years away, I began learning English in third grade, worked very hard to get all A’s throughout high school, never missed a class with an English tutor my mother hired for me, and eventually graduated from one of Moscow’s top universities with a master’s degree in English and French.


Flags of the former Soviet Union and the United States of America. (iStock)

Life in Soviet Russia was very regimented, as if it followed a carefully designed script. The author of the script was the CPSU – the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. You always knew what you were supposed to do and what you were not supposed to do. The government told you.

The state had complete control over an individual as it owned everything; there was no private property. The government told you where to live because it owned all the apartments and you had to wait years before you could get one. People lived in communal flats then. It told you where to work after you graduated from university. It told you what to think as all the media was controlled by the state. And you instinctively knew what you could and could not say in public because if you spoke your mind or criticised the government you would be punished.

Rebekah Koffler growing up in the Soviet Union. (Rebecca Koffler)

How could the state do this in the USSR? Everything or almost everything was free or almost free, but you did have to pay for food and clothing, which were not in abundance. The state took care of you. All you needed to do was follow all the rules. There were so many: you couldn’t get out of bed in the morning without breaking one law or another. In short, the state wanted you to be dependent, not independent.

I actually ended up in the United States, as my mother wanted, after graduating from college. I became an American citizen in 1995. What struck me most was how free and independent Americans were back then. No one told them what to do, what to think, what to say, and where to work.


Statue of Liberty, New York (Photo by Fox News/Joshua Comins)

If you are an American, you forge your own path. I quickly learned to embrace this independence and freedom of action right away. It is this sense of freedom that prompted me to join the ranks of American intelligence, after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I wanted to serve and protect my adopted homeland from foreign threats.

Alarmingly, I have observed over the past few years that independence – which is ingrained in the American psyche and culture – has been eroded. Big government, Big Tech and Big Media have been eating away at our independence.

Just as in Soviet Russia, ruling elites now tell us what cars to drive – electric, even if you can’t afford one; what size soda to consume; what kind of meat to eat (preferably lab-grown).

Meanwhile, Big Tech and Big Media — too often in cahoots with Big Government — are shaping what Americans think by censoring free speech. Conservative voices, and especially religious ones, are silenced, while leftist voices that go against the party line are amplified.

The United States needs to take a deep breath or it will soon be on the verge of becoming a Soviet-style totalitarian state. (Paul J. Richards/AFP vía Getty Images)

Even some of the especially privileged “journalists” want to take away our independence when it comes to the presidential election. Many were shocked when, during the CNN presidential debate, President Biden’s severe physical and cognitive decline was fully exposed and could no longer be disguised. Some left-wing media outlets are now calling for a replacement candidate, after having claimed for years that he was not sick and was perfectly healthy.

America needs to take a deep breath or it will soon be on the verge of becoming a Soviet-style totalitarian state. The nomenklatura, like Biden and former President Obama – who famously proclaimed his desire to “fundamentally transform” our nation – seems hell-bent on stripping away many of our freedoms.


A supporter of the Russian Communist Party attends a ceremony marking the 68th anniversary of the death of Soviet leader Josef Stalin in Red Square in Moscow, March 5, 2021. (Reuters/Evgenia Novozhenina)

As Americans watch helplessly as their government allows murderers, rapists, terrorists and foreign agents into our beautiful country – under the guise of human rights – we must decide now whether our rights as Americans are at risk.

With the presidential election just months away, the big question is this: Will Americans protect our independence, or are we okay with our nation’s slow decline as it begins to resemble parts of Russia and China, where the state dictates every aspect of our lives? The time to make that choice is now.


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