Taught Hatred

During World War Two I was taught to hate the Japanese. It didn’t matter that I never knew a single person of Japanese heritage, but the teaching was effective. I learned to hate Japan and Japanese people. At the time we had limited sources for news, mainly newspapers delivered to the house, or newsreels at the movie houses. Our regular paper was the Sun-Times dropped on our porch every day. I delivered the paper myself to many neighbors. Although we didn’t go to the movies often, but when we did, we saw government screened images of the war before the featured film. I would have been five or six years old at the time. Mom and Dad didn’t go to the movies often, so the film images of war that I saw were limited. The headlines on the newspaper featured large scale photos of war with large bold print proclaiming battles. Inside, the stories added wordy pictures of the carnage that went on. Whatever it was, I don’t really know, but I was seeded with a lifetime hatred for all things Japanese.

Shortly, after WW II ended the United States became involved in the Korean conflict. This time I was a teen ager and went to the movies regularly. Again, the brainwashing about Koreans who vaguely look like Japanese began. I still hadn’t met anyone who was of either Japanese or Korean ancestry.

It wasn’t until I went to the University of Illinois that I began to meet people of different races. There was a large population of Chinese, Indians (from India) and a few Iranians. Many of my professors in engineering classes were from India. That is when I finally began to see different people as people and not as war. It turned out that one of them was an Iranian named Dark Mirfahkrai. We became fast friends and I once asked him if he would stay in America after he graduated. He explained that he pledged his allegiance to the Shah and felt a moral obligation to return to his homeland. I learned that foreign people were not much different than I was. I did dislike foreign teachers only because I couldn’t understand what t hey said. Their pronunciation of English was horrible. But thanks to the quiz-classes that were a part of the lectures I survived. Most of these were led by upper class men who were headed for Master Degrees.

When I entered the working world another source of input crept into my life. There were always story’s about how our major industries were being lost to the Japanese. My fellow workers were often very vociferous about companies that raced to leave America for cheap labor in Korea and Japan.

In the nineteen sixties we were invaded by Japanese car companies with cute economy cars that were considerably cheaper than USA made product, namely, Nissan and Toyota. Nissan was so afraid to market a Japanese sounding car that they didn’t put their real name on the product. Datsun was really Nissan, and stayed Datsun for a number of years. I fell in love with a cute little Toyota Corolla station wagon, and bought one for less than eighteen hundred dollars. The VW Bug was priced at that and I was tired of the problems I had with mine so I opted to change.

Owning that little car is what caused me to develop a deep seated hatred for Japan and all things Japanese. Up until the Toyota I owned cars for a minimum of eight years, I sold the Corolla after two years and during those twenty-four months it spent six months in the dealer service department. That is when I coined the phrase “Jap-Crap.”

About that time I met my first real bona-fide Japanese person. Mike Fujimoto was Council Level Boy Scout volunteer. His name was well known throughout the Chicago Area Council and he was a true Scouter. I attended several of his training sessions and he turned my thinking around about Japanese. He was American born of Japanese migrant parents, just like I was American born of Hungarian parents. He was in scouts to give his son the best possible experience he could have, as was I. I didn’t hate Japanese people as much after I met Mike, but I did hate Japanese cars and their shitty quality. I never even looked at a Japanese car for forty years after that. My kids, on the other hand, would not buy American. I had friends at work who bragged about their great experiences with Honda and Toyota, but I stayed firm. What finally got to me is when my Assistant Chief Engineer Hank told me he had to take his Honda in for service at 140,000 miles to replace the gas filler tube. I finally relented and bought a Toyota Avalon sixteen years ago and I still love it. Everything still works, and there is no rust anywhere, and it still runs great, and I now love Jap-Crap.

This brings me to the real reason I am writing this story. I just finished reading “Bridge to the Sun” by Bruce Henderson. It is about American born Japanese men who joined/or were drafted to fight in WW II. It has totally erased my hatred for Japanese Americans, and Japanese people. I learned that these people should be commended for putting up with fighting two wars simultaneously, first was WW II against the Japanese, and second the racist hatred they endured from their own people, us, me.

Tall Tales

This morning I got up at 6:30 a.m. to an early start. Since it is Sunday, I went to 7:30 mass at Saint Anthony’s Church in Frankfort. After mass I usually hang around to talk to my old time buddies. This morning was no different. One of my friends Gene, asked me “what exciting thing have you done today?”

“I woke up,” was my response, but Gene really wanted to talk about the weather. We woke up to a snow this morning. It was what we call a “dusting.” That is snow that is so fine that it looks like dust on the planet. It is now noon and the snow is still falling but the flakes have grown to the size of quarters. The air is so still the flakes fall vertically to the ground. Since the ground temperature is above freezing the flakes melt immediately. Gene commented on how mild our winter has been. I reminded him of January’s past when in 1967 we had a very mild month, and then the snow hit the fan at the very end. It didn’t stop until Chicagoland was stopped, dead still. When twenty-seven inches of heavy snow land on you it brings everything to a stand still. That is all it took. A group of us began telling stories about how we were affected. Gene’s family ran a grocery store and he told about a butcher who carried a quarter of a cow for half a mile from his truck to the store. That is one big hunk of meat. That story began a new line from Al. His story was a “remember when” they used to deliver ice to houses, and the ice man would use an ice pick to chop a huge block of ice from the really big block of ice on the back his horse drawn carriage, and hoist it up to his shoulder to carry it into the house. Back then not many people owned refrigerators, so we all had ice boxes. Not to be outdone, I told about the guy who drove through the neighborhood, street by street hawking fruits and vegetables. My mom would streak out to buy beans, onions, fruits, etc. for cooking, and the table. Wally chimed in with the guy who cruised through the alley’s behind the houses in his horse drawn wagon calling out “rags and iron.” He was the original Green movement recycler, and made a living off of it.

Anyway, I guess I could answer that the most exciting thing that happened to me today since I woke up was to participate in a fifteen minute “can you top this” discussion about the good old days.

On my drive home I wondered if bringing those services back to the front door would be a viable business today? It didn’t take me long to determine that it wouldn’t because no one is home during the daytime anymore. The modern lady of the house now works, and is not always at home to take advantage of such a service. A little more thought and it occurred to me that the modern family would substitute the internet for the horse drawn wagon and the man. On-line grocery shopping with home delivery has become a real thing since COVID hit our towns. In fact the on-line grocery store carries a lot more than fruits and vegetables. Another difference between then and now is that families don’t cook things from scratch as when we were growing up. There are far too many convenience foods offered in frozen packages that merely require defrosting and heating.

PSA-230119-Try To Smile

Lighter than Air

Every year I set a goal to read one book a week. I missed the goal in 2022 by one book. Convinced that this year will be different I am reading voraciously. The latest novel is by author Ariel Lawhon and titled “Flight of Dreams.” Although it is fiction it has a historical theme. The fiction aspect contains two separate love stories, a mystery, and much social dialog. The history part comes from the fact that the entire story takes place aboard the last flight of the Hindenburg. Only a few references are made about these huge, lighter than air, ships being used in World War 1, in moving mail, and passengers.

The early part of the story reminded me of a cross country train trip I took on a train. Descriptions of the life in a restricted environment, and the ensuing boredom mixing with the excitement of a adventurous journey stirred my recollections. The author used a tactic that made the reading easier for me. She broke the story up by writing from the point of view of the characters. She begins new segments about a character with the title of the character, such as Cabin Boy, Navigator, Stewardess, Chef, Journalist, American, etc. Since I have trouble remembering characters in any story I read, this tactic helped me establish a connection sooner, and it was more burned into my brain.

The flight from Germany to New Jersey lasted three days and eight hours. This gave the author lots of time to tell the story of over ninety passengers and crew. Of course, she concentrated the narrative on only a select few passengers in order to get the reader into the story. Throughout the tale we know all along how this story ends, the Hindenburg blows up as it is landing. The author periodically gives us a check-point by reminding us how many hours and minutes remain until the “explosion.” What this did for me was to establish a giant curiosity about how the story ends. Would my favorite character be one of those who perish? Would the love interests perish together? Would the American accomplish his goal to revenge his brother’s death in WW I?

I felt that Ariel Lawhon did an amazing job of story telling by turning her story from a slow beginning into a frantically paced thriller in the final pages. Her story left me sad, and happy as I learned which characters survived, and which perished. I learned just enough history in this read to make me want to know more about this form of airship travel.

Cajones the Size of Basketballs

Normally, I don’t like to post articles that other people have written, but when I get lazy and a great piece of writing comes across my desk I get lazy. Here is a list of questions that every American should be asking for answers to. When did we the people lose control of our government? When did we get so complacent as to allow the crazies among us to take over? I give Victor Davis Hanson credit for flexing his cojones, and his right to free speech to remind us of all the stupid, lawless things that are going on in the country today. What ever happened to the “Rule of Law?”

########################################

The Coup We Never Knew

Did someone or something seize 

control of the United States?

By: Victor Davis Hanson

January 5, 2023

What happened to the U.S. border? Where did it go? Who erased it? Why and how did 5 million people enter our country illegally? Did Congress secretly repeal our immigration laws? Did Joe Biden issue an executive order allowing foreign nationals to walk across the border and reside in the United States as they pleased?

Since when did money not have to be paid back? Who insisted that the more dollars the federal government printed, the more prosperity would follow? When did America embrace zero interest? Why do we believe $30 trillion in debt is no big deal?

When did clean-burning, cheap, and abundant natural gas become the equivalent of dirty coal? How did prized natural gas that had granted America’s wishes of energy self-sufficiency, reduced pollution, and inexpensive electricity become almost overnight a pariah fuel whose extraction was a war against nature? Which lawmakers, which laws, which votes of the people declared natural gas development and pipelines near criminal?

Was it not against federal law to swarm the homes of Supreme Court justices, to picket and to intimidate their households in efforts to affect their rulings? How then with impunity did bullies surround the homes of Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, John Roberts, and Clarence Thomas—furious over a court decision on abortion? How could these mobs so easily throng our justices’ homes, with placards declaring “Off with their d—s”?

Since when did Americans create a government Ministry of Truth? And on whose orders did the FBI contract private news organizations to censor stories it did not like and writers whom it feared?

How did we wake up one morning to new customs of impeaching a president over a phone call? Of the speaker of the House tearing up the State of the Union address on national television? Of barring congressional members from serving on their assigned congressional committees?

When did we assume the FBI had the right to subvert the campaign of a candidate it disliked? Was it legal suddenly for one presidential candidate to hire a foreign ex-spy to subvert the campaign of her rival?

Was some state or federal law passed that allowed biological males to compete in female sports? Did Congress enact such a law? Did the Supreme Court guarantee that biological male students could shower in gym locker rooms with biological women? Were women ever asked to redefine the very sports they had championed?

When did the government pass a law depriving Americans of their freedom during a pandemic? In America can health officials simply cancel rental contracts or declare loan payments in suspension? How could it become illegal for mom-and-pop stores to sell flowers or shoes during a quarantine but not so for Walmart or Target?

Since when did the people decide that 70 percent of voters would not cast their ballots on Election Day? Was this revolutionary change the subject of a national debate, a heated congressional session, or the votes of dozens of state legislatures?

What happened to Election Night returns? Did the fact that Americans created more electronic ballots and computerized tallies make it take so much longer to tabulate the votes?

When did the nation abruptly decide that theft is not a crime, assault not a felony? How can thieves walk out with bags of stolen goods, without the wrath of angry shoppers, much less fear of the law?

Was there ever a national debate about the terrified flight from Afghanistan?  Who planned it and why?

What happened to the once-trusted FBI? Why almost overnight did its directors decide to mislead Congress, to deceive judges with concocted tales from fake dossiers and with doctored writs? Did Congress pass a law that our federal leaders in the FBI or CIA could lie under oath with impunity?

Who redefined our military and with whose consent? Who proclaimed that our chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff could call his Chinese Communist counterpart to warn him that America’s president was supposedly unstable? Was it always true that retired generals routinely libeled their commander-in-chief as a near Nazi, a Mussolini, an adherent of the tools of Auschwitz?

Were Americans ever asked whether their universities could discriminate against their sons and daughters based on their race? How did it become physically dangerous to speak the truth on a campus? Whose idea was it to reboot racial segregation and bias as “theme houses,” “safe spaces,” and“diversity”? How did that happen in America?

How did a virus cancel the Constitution? Did the lockdowns rob us of our sanity? Or was it the woke hysteria that ignited our collective madness?

We are beginning to wake up from a nightmare of a country we no longer recognize, and from a coup we never knew.