On Immigration

I, like every white American, am the child of immigrants. Technically, I am the the grandchild of immigrants, but I don’t believe it matters how far “back” one’s lineage goes. We are each affected by our immigrant groups. Even the “Daughters of the Revolution”, that group of Protestant Anglo Saxons that lay claim to being the first Americans, they too are affected by the group of Europeans they came from. They are the uptight, controlling and judgmental souls they are because they are Protestant Anglo Saxons.

My family is primarily Eastern European. Ukrainian, if you consider that to be exact. The borders have moved throughout it’s approximate 700 year history. The area that current Ukraine lives in was initially part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (and may very well explain why one of the 4 languages my grandmother spoke was Polish). Then, it became Cossack.

I get the Cossacks. Russian cowboys. I.E. nuts.

Ukrainians are passionately depressed. We like bread, painting eggs, drinking, dancing that harms your knees and the accordian. We are fine with grey areas, shaded truth, and let’s face it, outright lies. There is very little moral ambiguity in the Ukraine: you do what you do in order to survive. Fudging birth dates, marriages, service in the army, dates of immigration, etc, all fall under the basic law of survival: Life is hard and then you die. Might as well scam someone in the meantime.

And  this may be because the Ukraine has been scammed so many times. During the tug of war between the Austro- Hungarian empire and the Russian empire from the late 18th century well into the 19th century, my poor ancestors were mere pawns in their bizarre struggle for power over the entire mess we call Eastern Europe today. This may be a good investigation for me….my own passionately bizarre personal history (which is, at it’s root, merely Ukrainian), and the passionately bizarre history of the region. Nice.

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