Tom Hanks recently made an ass of himself by attempting a political generalization that showed remarkably poor understanding of the world as it was in 1941, and how it is today. Mr. Hanks:
"Back in World War II, we viewed the Japanese as ‘yellow, slant-eyed dogs’ that believed in different gods. They were out to kill us because our way of living was different. We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different. Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what’s going on today?"
Tom Hanks' comments were not all that surprising.. a simplistic view tailored to fit our current times. His comments are not primarily directed to disparage our efforts against the Japanese. His actual point is for the here and now, and he is attempting to chide us, dismissing our nation's efforts to protect itself in its efforts abroad and here stateside against what Hanks is thinking of as an ill-considered distrust and hatred of the unknown.
The operative sentence in the quote is:
"Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what’s going on today?"
No, Tom, it doesn't. In fact, it doesn't sound anything like yesterday either. It is one thing to look back at the war in the Pacific with the certain knowledge that the war ended with the unconditional surrender of the Japanese, and another thing entirely to have actually lived through those events with the uncertainty of the future, the deep ache in the gut with the news that our Pacific fleet was utterly destroyed as it lay at anchor in Pearl Harbor, our young men burned and drown to death before many could even get topside and dressed, the staggering blow of the first six months of the war when the news was of defeat after defeat to an enemy that we had hardly taken seriously prior to the outset of hostilites. Wake Island..the Philipines...the surrender in the Bataan Peninsula..the Bataan death march... the harsh reality of the news of loved ones lost in far off places fighting against a brutal, fanatical enemy that would rape and kill the local women, behead your captured military personnel and send their soldiers off on suicide missions for a cause that was totally empty and devoid of any good.
Well, okay Tom, there are some similarities amongst the type of people we fight against, but it has to do with their ideas and they way they intend to go about treating people. It matters not what they look like. Heck we fought a civil war against people that looked just like us. In fact, not infrequently our family members were fighting on the other side. What was all the killing about then? No, it doesn't have to do with what people look like.
The question for us today is will we respond to todays threat with the clarity of purpose, political unity and willingness to sacrifice that will be necessary to win the struggle ahead. Based on the way you are thinking about what is at stake here, the answer would be perhaps not.
Good news is, there are lots of us who have been paying attention, and we have not given up.
Thank you sir, but you do not speak for me. As far as insightful political commentary, I think Gary Bussey would generate a more grounded insight into our political realities and personal motivations, both for today and for days gone by.