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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Gravitational Pull-Ups 2

The UPC has decided to make a kind of group blog entry now and then... Here's this week's idea:

Hopefully, each one of us is going to identify and write a bit about three living politicians that we appreciate and respect from an opposing political party from our own.

I’ve enjoyed griping about finding lefties I admire, but I really do admire my first choice, Zell Miller, and I really do admire my second choice Senator Daniel K. Inouye, as well. I’m very proud that Senator Inouye is the senator from my state. He was a member of the legendary 442nd, is probably the best known of the Hawaii Nisei, and always comports himself with a certain slow dignity that demands respect. Most mainlanders haven’t heard of him, but if you remember the Iran-Contra hearings, you may remember the deep voice of a certain Japanese senator. That was Inouye.

If you live in Hawaii you’d be a fool not to vote for Inouye because he’s incredibly powerful because he’s been a senator for like 50 years, and therefore is able to procure enough pork to satisfy Sally Struthers AND Roseanne Barr for life. Having said that, I’d vote for him anyway, just because of the way he carries himself and because of his war record. I don’t agree with much of his politics, but he rarely goes all the way loony left, and, unlike another war hero, John McCain, he hasn’t tried to destroy free speech.

I’ve cut and pasted Senator Inouye’s Citation for the Medal of Honor he earned in Italy below. Read it. Wow. Read it.

Inouye, Daniel K.

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company E, 442nd Infantry. Place and date: San Terenzo, Italy, 21 April 1945. Birth: 7 September 1924, Honolulu, Hawaii. Entered service at: Honolulu, Hawaii.

Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on
21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

Here is a brief excerpt from Senator Inouye’s book, Journey to Washington- via this site.

Our family life was a blend of East and West. When we ate beef, we used knives and forks. When we ate sukiyaki, we used chopsticks. Although I went to a Japanese school every afternoon, it was never permitted to interfere with my American education. The language spoken at home now on Coyne Street, was English.

I remember a great celebration. After nearly 30 years of persistent effort, Asakichi had paid the family debt. There were songs and much sake and, though I was not yet five years old, I sat on my grandfather's lap and took a sip of the potent liquor. Had he chosen to do so, he could now have resumed to Yokoyama village. But there was never a doubt about what he would do. His son and daughters were Americans-he would stay the rest of his days in Hawaii.

Most of the Japanese in Hawaii felt the same. But the break was difficult, even for us who had never seen the old country. The Buddhist priest who taught us ethics and history in the Japanese school actually believed we were still Japanese and often in class he told us that our loyalty belonged to the Emperor. When I was 15, I openly challenged him, declaring in class, "I am an American."

"You are a Japanese," he retorted, angered by my insubordination.

"I am an American," I insisted.

So enraged was he that he dragged me from the classroom and threw me with full force into the schoolyard, screaming after me, "You are a faithless dog!" I never returned.

But I still revered the land of my ancestors and, although I sensed that the breach between Japan and the United States was widening, serious trouble between them was too terrifying even to think about.

I could go on and on about Senator Inouye. Suffice it to say that I’ve pwned my UPC leftist brethren- my admired statesman (statesperson?) on the other side of the spectrum can kick YOUR admired statesman (statesperson?) on the other side of the spectrum’s ASS!!!


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