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Why I Became A Republican - Arlene Stassinos


What an honor it is to share my reasons for my Republicanism, if there's such a word! It's ironic today of all days to reflect on "Why I became a Republican"…my American passport was going to expire in six months and all I needed was a photo to send my passport renewal. As I proofread my renewal application, it was clearly evident how proud I was to be an American citizen.

To know why I became a Republican, my past need to be shared:…

San Francisco, 1961….the USS Breckenridge steamed into the harbor with over three hundred eager passengers taking their first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge, and for most the dream of "freedom" turned into reality. I was one of those passengers.

My roots trace back to the Philippines where I was born. My heritage has become an integral part of becoming a teacher—retiring after 35 years of service. However, it was my parents who were instrumental in guiding me to becoming a conservative citizen. Both my parents demonstrated strong family bonds by their efforts to keep their families together emotionally when all was lost during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II and forced to witness the torture of several family members to confess to the whereabouts of food and allies. My father was allowed to join the US Navy due to his civilian assistance and was given WWII credit in addition to becoming a Veteran of the Korean War.

Both my parents were proud American citizens in spite of experiencing hardships adjusting to both Japanese and American cultures. As a young child, I lived in Japan in both US Naval Bases in Iwakuni and Atsugi. Then off to America on a ship, USS Breckinridge, and I can attest I was a genuine FOB—as many Filipino immigrants would say, "Fresh Off the Boat". Now it's "Fresh off the River" or "Fresh Off the Wall". Such a disgrace for those who waited five-six years to be legal residents like my aunts and uncles from the Philippines!

After my Dad's military retirement and a decade with the Federal Government as a military procurement contractor, my parents decided to exercise their entrepreneurial business in the Board and Care sector employing approximately 10-15 employees in two different facilities. My parents were able to offer jobs to new immigrants which then was a significant part to immigrate to America. However, my father prefaced each job as being "temporary" to enable this person to acclimate to the United States, then he expected this person to get a long-term employment affiliated with his/her profession in the Philippines. Both my parents were adamant and professed mightily that the government should not nor their employers have to support someone in perpetuity.


I was blessed to be a colleague with a fifth grade who was a retired U. S. Air Force military veteran Purple Heart recipient—Lieutenant Colonel Chip Hall. He helped train military pilots in the secret code developed by Captain Coffey when Americans were taken as POWs. Mr. Hall taught with structure, firmness, and most of all a passion for America's gifts! Although Mr. Hall kept a classroom fostered with discipline, all his students knew he LOVED them and they consistently demonstrated respect for what direction he was taking them. Mr. Hall pushed to have our fifth-grade classes to visit the Vietnam Memorial erected in front of California's State Capital Building. I had never thought of taking 64 fifth graders for a field trip to tour this War Memorial let alone seeing State Legislators in action! For me, it was profound and had made an impact! Mr. Hall kept repeating how these people were memorialized because they "fought for freedom" to suppress communism from spreading.

MY TEACHING CAREER AS A FIFTH GRADER TEACHER had many moments that have impacted my life that validate the need to steer the 35 years of my teaching career in the direction of being a Republican. There was one defining experience that confirmed this ideology. When I taught fifth grade for three years, I was teaching in a predominately low to middle-income school in which thirty percent of the students qualified for federal assistance programs such as the "Free Lunch Program" under the federal program known then as Title I. I credit my student Nathan Taylor to be one of the most pivotal chapters of my teaching career that validated I was a very proud American teacher of Filipino heritage. Nathan Taylor was one of my most incredibly gifted students who appeared to be destined to follow in his father's medical career in being a Medical Orthopedic Surgeon—his father was in his last year of his residency. Nathan consistently questioned and challenged topics in Social Science regarding the settling of America by immigrants. This inspired him to fulfill his church mission to Argentina to spread the goodness of Americans. For each grade level that I taught, I created a year-long theme that I integrated the core curriculum around. For fifth grade, it was: America…a Patchwork of Dreams. In the three years, I taught fifth grade, it was my goal to culminate a segment of US History and incorporate it into our year-long theme of the following:

  1. Each fifth student had to select an American dream maker that contributed to the country's greatness and conduct research to prepare a written report with specified criteria on how this person was a dream maker. This person could be an inventor, President, artist, entertainer, sports hero…
  2. Each student was instructed to write a report of his/her selected "Dream maker" and design the American on a 12X12 white cloth to be stitched together in a quilt to be displayed at Open House. Nathan Taylor's mother volunteered to piece together and sew the quilt to display 32 Dream Makers. Nathan selected Chuck Yeager, as the first person to break the sound barrier.
  3. Each student was then given time to orally present his/her Dream Maker and this person's impact on America.

During the course of the oral presentations, Nathan would consistently voice his opinion the importance of "capitalism" and affirmed not one Dream Maker was given money from the government to help with his/her invention, athletic achievement, education success, etc. I was fortunate to have another male student who researched who researched Mao Tsu Tung and how communism helps families towards success because government takes care of you. Mao was his hero and felt he should receive the honorary Nobel Peach Prize. Of course, Nathan would not hear of this and a contentious debate ensued in class. When Nathan professed his beliefs about the downfall of communism, I began to internalize his early convictions that as a teacher, I had to begin living my life to protect the freedoms and U.S. Constitution. Nathan insisted we recite the Preamble every morning followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Thanks to Nathan's fervent stance in protecting the Constitution confirmed my Republican ideals and I was going to teach every student the importance of protecting our American freedom.

With pride and great sorrow, I share that Nathan was killed in the line of duty as a Law Enforcement Officer two years after he came to my school to share that he dropped out of the pre-medical program at his university . He apologized that he didn't follow the path to being a great Dream Maker as a physician, but chose a profession he could truly make a difference and that was Law Enforcement. He wanted to defend the U.S. Constitution.
In honor of my parents, Lt. Col Chip Hall, and Officer Nathan Taylor, they have driven me to protect the F words that the Left Wing hate with a passion:


Being a Republican reaches my heart and soul…I live my life with Romans 8:28 in my daily living. "We know all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose."

Written by Arlene Stassinos 

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