Mingi Bodine: Immigrant, Speech Therapist, Homeschooler
The Flight and Fight of Mingi Bodine
What do you do when you see the same things happening in America that happened to your family in China? In October 1949, the Communists took control of the Republic of China. Can it happen here 70 years later? Can the Communists take control of the Republic of the United States of America?
In China it all started with the student movement and the media lies, distortion, and fake news of the ruling party. In 1949, Mingi’s father had to flee from China to Taiwan. When Mingi (pronounced Ming-ee) eventually became a US citizen in 1999, she did not do so to experience the horrors of communism her father had escaped. The images in 2017 of American college students pulling down historical statues reminded Mingi of what happened in China in 1949. She questions, if the Communists are successful here, where can Americans flee?
Mingi was born and raised in Taiwan. From her father and his military buddies who followed the Nationalist Party Leader Chiang Kai Shek to Taiwan, she heard many horrible stories about the Communist’s brutality. Mingi grew up on the peaceful and relatively prosperous island of Taiwan, but always knew that “One day, I am going to America.”
That day came on August 5, 1990. She arrived as a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with two suitcases and one soaking wet handkerchief, having cried all the way across the Pacific as she left family and friends behind. But her “American dream” was so big that she had a big smile on her face when the plane landed at the Chicago O’Hare Airport.
Her big smile soon turned into big struggles as waves of academic challenges, culture shocks, and language difficulties became daily problems. But her “American dream” was bigger than her troubles. She kept working on her degree. A few years later, when she earned a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology and a license to practice speech therapy in Illinois, she knew her “American dream” was real. America was indeed a special place for all who follow the rules.
Mingi’s American conservatism was solidly established while working and raising a family in the Midwest. Driving long distances among the corn and soybean fields and dairy farms to visit patients gave her plenty of time to listen to Rush Limbaugh’s conservative ideas in the late ‘90s. The experience of living in a small Wisconsin town, enriched with strong conservative Christian values, with her Midwestern husband to raise their daughter was the idyllic rural American life — which she would not trade for anything.
A wave of layoffs in the high-tech industry rocked their comfortable life and brought Mingi’s family to historic New England, where she experienced a very different America. The memory of history seemed to be carved in every colonial house, in every stone fence, in every windy New England road that was once no more than a cow path. Mingi was now surrounded by communities influenced by English Puritans, politics manipulated by Irish and Italian immigrants, and exposure to some of the oldest orthodox Judaism in North America. These were all a part of a new fabric she could now add to her American quilt.
To not miss out on a moment of their daughter’s life, Mingi made the decision to homeschool her. Thanks to the U.S. Constitution, parents have rights to their children. This is a foreign concept to most people in the world where children belong to the state, not to the parents. New England offered abundant educational opportunities: historical sites, patriotic activities, beautiful landscapes, immigrant communities and festivities. The journey of homeschooling helped Mingi have a deeper appreciation for American freedom and liberty. Her strong desire to pass on this precious heritage to her daughter propelled her family to be involved in local politics including helping the campaign of Massachusetts Republican Governor Charlie Baker in 2010 and 2014, to become acquainted with politically conservative orthodox Jewish communities, and to introduce homeschooling to the Boston Muslim Turkish community.
Moving to California in 2016 opened Mingi’s eyes to the dangers confronting this country. If people continued to be blind to the infiltration of communism, America could lose its God-given liberty. Being a homeschooling mother in left-leaning California, she searched to find a conservative group in the Bay Area. Finally, she attended an SVARW meeting in March, 2017. She wanted to make sure her homeschooled daughter had a large dosage of conservative principles and wisdom before going to an American college – often filled with land mines of communist indoctrination. Thanks to the SVARW Board Members’ 2018 Summer Scholarship awarded to Rachel, she participated in the City on the Hill Youth Leadership Conference, whose goal is to teach conservative principles to the next generation of leaders. Rachel was blessed with several scholarship offers from Big Ten universities after being homeschooled for 12 years and loving it. She ultimately chose to major in product design at the University of Minnesota. With 30 college credits under her belt upon entering college and owning an online business, Rachel is a living testimony to what American families can accomplish when liberty is abundant and government is not in their way.
America has been moving towards the left for over 100 years since President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) introduced socialism to American Government; which was about the same time as the Russian Revolution and Communism developing in China. The Chinese were in awe of Europe’s advanced technology and military power which forced China to trade in the late 1800s. They sent their brightest to Europe to be enlightened, but, unfortunately, they brought home socialism. This was terrible timing for China to send students to Europe for the first time in history. The idea of something other than yourself taking care of you became very attractive. The Founding Father of the Republic of China, Dr. Sun Yat Sen, who had traveled extensively in Europe and America to fundraise for his revolution in China, was heavily influenced by socialist scholars during his youth and became a firm believer in socialism. Unlike the American Constitution which elevates individual rights and limits government power within a constitutional republic, Dr. Sun’s political philosophy, the “Three Principles of the People,” promotes collective rights of the people under a socialist society.
Communism became popular in the early 1900s among the elites and blossomed all over China when the country was very weak and exhausted from having fought the Japanese from 1937 to 1945. The Communists are applying the same take-over strategy to America today: attack when the country is weak within. Most people believed in the Communists’ propaganda, ignored the warning signs, and did not flee China. Mingi’s dad was in the military and fled to Taiwan with the Nationalist Party. As a young officer, he was grateful for the First American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force or The Flying Tigers under the leadership of Claire Lee Chennault to fight the Japanese in 1941-42, and later in his life he was grateful for the opportunity to live in America. Mingi’s entrepreneurial maternal grandfather also immigrated to America at 60 to start a restaurant. He loved America and diligently attended community adult school English classes until a stroke took away his ability to speak at 87.
As a child, she always felt she was an American born in the wrong country and someday would speak English like a native. At the age of 13, she learned the English alphabet in school and listened to English spoken on the radio and in American cartoons. Finally, she arrived in graduate school in America and was shocked by how fast natives spoke English. Today as a speech therapist, Mingi treats patients referred to her by doctors, and she coaches international clients who desire to have an American accent.
Mingi speaks fluent Mandarin, Taiwanese and English — without a trace of an accent. Both as a trained linguist and by her hobby of learning new languages, she is convinced English is one of the most beautiful languages in the world. Unfortunately, her language teaching experience in an East Palo Alto charter school last year was disappointing. Her supervisor considered her encouraging students to “speak English well” as imposing her own values on the students. Speaking English is all the more important to a country such as America for the purpose of unifying the culturally diverse people groups.
After years of naively enjoying freedom without suspecting that it could be taken away, Mingi saw those haunting images of American students pulling down historical statues and knew this was the first warning sign of communism’s attack on its target country. Communism is like the HIV virus which does not attack the subject until it is infected and weakened from within. Today it is clear to Mingi that included in her “big” American dream must be an attempt to re-awaken generations of Americans to understand and defend the Constitution that the Founding Fathers so brilliantly designed.
The election of Donald Trump in 2016 is an example of God’s grace on America to give another chance to revive conservative values. Mingi believes that Americans are born free and they must fight to keep themselves free. She invites all Americans to join her dream to keep this Republic free! She thanks the SVARW Board for graciously involving her in reaching out to the ethnic communities in Santa Clara County. Although conservatives are not naturally drawn to politics and power, Mingi is afraid that today in America conservatives might not have a choice but to step out of their comfort zones to make sure America’s children and grandchildren will have choices other than fleeing from communism as Mingi’s father did in China.
[Written in large part by the Bodine Family in collaboration with Betty Sakai producing an outline for them of her interview with Mingi Bodine on 05-10-19]