Dimity wrote in response to my previous comments:
The immigrant experience in America for people from ex-communist nations is probably peculiar for it political dimension. The way it typically works is the first generation is staunch Republican, law and order, and at least temporarily harbor racist/sexist prejudices.
Psychologically, they are still fighting the previous Communist oppression of their youth and are strongly against anyone who is in any form of political opposition to the right-wing America. Any liberal movement, party or group are typically viewed with hostility and suspicion.
The second generation, having been Americanized, lack the political history of their parents, are typically well educated and are by and large liberal. It works like that in Rumanian and Hungarian communitties, as well as in Miami and Brighton Beach. There is a book called "Dreaming in Cuban" (I think), which describes this well from that point of view, which I found to be intimately familiar, though of coarse my experience is Russian. I am an in between generation, having come to the US at 13.
When we ran an anti-Soviet student human rights group in college, no liberal student group would touch us with a ten foot pole, yet older Vietnamese and Cuban refugees would come to our rallies reliably. They were so focused on delivering an anti-Communist message with their home-made posters!
As the time goes on, however, even the older generation begins to see things differently, the old memories and old, now non-existent enemies, fading away, replaced by a deeper understanding of American history, acceptance of reality with all its warts and rising importance of economic issues.
For my parents, who have for decades now voted strict Republican, the change came with the war in Iraq, and what they sensed to be a crude propaganda coming from the Bush administration. When recently out at a children's play, they were asked again (it happens very often, because of their accent) "where are you from?", by probably a well meaning, curious woman. Usually they just answer with some resignation that they are originally from the ex-Soviet Union, but now they live in Plymouth.
This time, however, they let my wife fire back "they are from New York and they are American!" I thought it was a real change.
They seem to be supporting Obama in this election. I am really proud of them.
Posted by: Dimitry | April 4, 2008 12:08 AM
Peace & Grace
Rev. C. Solomon