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 pondering about 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 the separation of the United States from the kings and queens of the Old World.

I was born and raised in Soviet Russia. My parents disagreed with the communist system, but they didn’t actively rebel against it – there was no point. The state apparatus that controlled the people was so strong that it was impossible to shake it up. Instead, my mother inculcated in me the idea that one day, I would be free and independent because I would go to America. As a child, I didn’t know what America was and why I was to flee to this unknown land, abandoning my family and friends in Russia. But I didn’t question my mother. I knew she wanted the best for me.

In preparation for my new life, which was years away, I started learning English in the third grade, worked extra hard to get all As throughout high school, never missed a class with an English language tutor who my mother hired for me, and eventually graduated from a top university in Moscow with a master’s degree in English and French. 


Soviet Union and USA flags

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

Life in Soviet Russia was very regimented as though 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 so.

The state had total 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. So, people lived in communal flats. It told you where to work after you graduated from college. It told you what to think, as all media was state-controlled. And you instinctively knew what you could and could not say in public because if you spoke your mind or criticized the government you would be punished.

Rebekah Koffler in the Soviet Union

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

How was the state able to do this in the USSR? Everything or almost everything was free or almost free, but you did have to pay for food and clothing, neither of which was plentiful. The state took care of you. All you needed to do was to follow all the rules. There were so many – you couldn’t roll out of bed in the morning without breaking one law or another. The bottom line, the state wanted you to be dependent, not independent.

I did indeed end up in America, as my mother wanted, after I graduated from college. I became an American citizen in 1995. What struck me most here was how free and independent Americans were then. No one told them what to do, what to think, what to say and where to work. 


Statue of Liberty, New York City

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

If you are an American, you chart your own path. I learned quickly to embrace this independence and freedom of action immediately. It’s this sense of freedom that drove me to join the ranks of U.S. intelligence, after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. I wanted to serve and protect my adopted homeland from foreign threats.

Alarmingly, in recent years, I’ve observed that independence – which is engrained in the American psyche and culture – has been eroding. Big Government, Big Tech and Big Media have been eating away at our independence.

Like in Soviet Russia, the ruling elites now tell us what cars to drive – electric, even if you can’t afford it; what size soda drinks to consume, what type of meat to eat – lab-grown preferred.

Meanwhile, Big Tech and Big Media – too often colluding with the Big Government – are shaping what Americans think by censoring free speech. Conservative, and especially religious voices are silenced, while leftist voices that are down with the party line are amplified. 

voting booth

America 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 via Getty Images)

Even some of the specially privileged “journalists” want to take away our independence when it comes to presidential elections. Many were “surprised” when, during the CNN Presidential Debate, President Biden’s severe physical and cognitive impairment was fully on display and could no longer be disguised. Some in the leftist media are now calling for a replacement candidate, after claiming for years he was not unwell and 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 wish to “fundamentally transform” our nation – seem hell-bent on taking many of our freedoms away.


Stalin portrait held up in parade

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

As Americans are helplessly watching their government let murderers, rapists, terrorists and foreign operatives 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 only months away, the big question is this: Will Americans protect our independence or are we OK with the slow decline of our nation as it starts to resemble parts of Russia and China, where the state dictates every aspect of our lives? The time to make that decision is now.


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