I was born less than ten years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. My father fought in the Second World War, although in the European theater and not the Pacific one, so discussions of the war in the house were far more likely to be about the German theater than the Japanese one. Still, they were who had attacked us on December 7th, so some residual antipathy toward Japan was natural.
Maybe 20 years ago, my wife and I were in Hawaii -- me on business (a trade show), the little lady on a vacation with me, helped by the company-paid room and some frequent-flyer points. While there, we went to Pearl Harbor, even then more than 50 years past the attacks. If you have never been to the memorials, walked the grounds, observed the USS Arizona memorial structure, well, I can certainly recommend trying to get there as a bucket list item.
One thing we noticed during that visit struck us more than most. There is an area of the overall memorial that is outdoors and easily accessible. While there, we noticed a tour group of maybe twenty visitors taking pictures.
The cameras were Japanese, and that was natural -- since so were the tour-group members. The guide was speaking to them in Japanese, and the missus remarked that she wished she knew what the guide was saying and what the questions were. Me, too, I told her, me too.
But here's the thing. Our curiosity was not really tinged by anything other than just that -- curiosity. The tour group was obviously welcome in our country and in the site; there was nothing like animosity, not a shred. Sure, we are a forgiving people, but there was nothing left to forgive, at least regarding those people. There were no visitors old enough to have fought in the war and, even if they had been, they'd have been too young then to have been in any decision-making position or to have had a choice.
I am 100% sure that is the opinion of our entire country. There are a few nonagenarian Japanese WWII veterans alive today, but none remotely old enough to have had any input. Even 20 years ago any residual antipathy toward Japan and the Japanese based on Pearl Harbor and WWII was long gone. I have been in Japan visiting our military facilities there; they are our geopolitical friends and economic ... well, that's hard to define, but we certainly don't hate them -- in fact, our president is there as I write this working out friendly diplomatic approaches to normal international relations.
The Japanese are our friends. We have long since "forgiven" the nation for what happened in the 1940s, and if we meet a Japanese or Japanese-American now, well, WWII is pretty much the last thing on our mind. And they bombed freaking Pearl Harbor. Keep that in mind.
The left is now on a merciless march to tear down memorials to our Founding Fathers, particularly those who were slaveowners, as was pretty much the rule for any landowner-farmer at the time. Simply having owned slaves at the time appears to be, to the left, sufficient to have your name wiped from the pages of history.
Now, in the 18th Century, farmers in Virginia owned slaves. It wasn't nice, mind you, but it was a practice that was worldwide. It was certainly a point of contention even at the time, and one of discussion during the beginnings of our nation. George Washington certainly wasn't a big fan, as recorded (I believe Martha was a bit less opposed, but history knows better).
Still -- here is the thing. The left is all over the Founding Fathers and trying to rip their plaques down and knock over their monuments. For all the amazing good they did in the creation of the greatest nation on earth; for the Declaration of Independence, for their bravery in the Revolution, for the incredible Constitution, for the writings of the day, for the tricameral government they created ... for all of that, the left believes that their having owned slaves voids their memorial.
They can't forgive the Founders for what was ethically acceptable and commonplace at the time, not only in Revolutionary America but around the world. They can't tolerate the nation, of course, can't abide that there is a USA leading the world as a beacon of freedom, so they have to try to decertify its status by seizing on what is barely relevant, not even a heroic flaw, because it was a contemporary custom.
The problem is this. Why can the left not simply exercise one-tenth of the forgiveness that all Americans long since granted to Japan after the war? Decades ago, Americans ceased looking at Japan as a recent enemy who sucker-bombed Hawaii and killed thousands of Americans, and we accepted the fact that Japan's imperial desires were vaporized in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We also accepted that the post-war nation that Japan became -- with our help, of course -- had become an ally.
More importantly, we forgave those who had nothing to do with the war; those born afterward, even those who fought in the war but who were soldiers under orders. It's over. We got past it. We won the war and then won the peace by being a friend and ally, not the conquering empire. And within a few decades, we could have a tour group of Japanese visitors walking through memorials to what their predecessors had done, and wonder musingly what they were talking about.
So why can't the left forgive what the slaveholders among our Founding Fathers did, that was normal at the time and in the ethics of the 18th Century, and why do they feel the need to destroy their memories and to crush what they accomplished?
There is an answer, of course. It's because it's not about slavery. It's about destroying America.
Copyright 2017 by Robert Sutton