EARTHQUAKES AND HONOR
The union agitators swarming into Wisconsin, like flies on dog dirt, howl, gnash their teeth, pummel the air with their fists, and threaten murder to those who have taken the cherry off their expansive ice cream sundae of salaries and benefits, while the people of Japan humbly, and soberly, endure the end of their world.
I have scoured the Internet looking for any signs of civil unrest or social upheaval in Japan in the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters ever to demolish an industrialized country. I can find none; no reports of looting, no reports of conflict or complaint. One report I read had the headline “Survivors Hoard Food and Supplies.” The word ‘hoarding’ has a connotation of madness and panic. But the story actually went on to state, ” long lines formed outside a damaged supermarket as hundreds waited for medicine, water and other supplies. Supplies ran low as people stocked up, not knowing how long it would take for fresh goods to arrive.” This is not a description of hoarding. This is a composed and respectable group of people waiting patiently to glean what they could from the shelves of a store. The orderliness of the Japanese makes Americans and their “Black Friday” of shopping mayhem look shameful.
After the acquittal of the Los Angeles police officers who used force to subdue Rodney King, in the spring of 1992, protesters in many of the black communities in L.A. rioted. Entire neighborhoods were damaged and business were torched. People of all races and sexes were pulled out of their cars and beaten or murdered if they happened to be at the wrong intersection during one of these community temper tantrums. Looting and fires damaged or destroyed 3100 businesses. The businesses and homes were owned or patronized by the very people that blew their collective cork. This “man-made disaster” cost 1 billion dollars in damages and 53 lives. It was simply the unregulated and childish response of a few malcontents not getting what they wanted.
Shelters in the hardest hit areas of Japan are crowed with hundreds of thousands of homeless individuals and families. The pictures from these refuges show people clutching one another, their heads hung in despair, sitting in tidy spaces defined by a mat or a blanket, their scant possessions stored next to them neatly, their shoes off their feet in the typical respectful manner.
There are no reports of looting in Japan, none. Some have theorized that the complete absence of looting behavior is because Japan has become a pacifist nation, or because the civil punishments for stealing and looting are so harsh. Reality check: This is a county that has just lost a great deal of its infrastructure. What resources of law enforcement are left are extended in recovering the dead, rescuing the wounded, and seeking shelter for the homeless. There is no police force in the streets of Japan enforcing the no-looting ordinances. It is the people themselves that keep the order. It is their practiced self-restraint and honor. It is more than the fear of losing face, or the military doctrine of “no surrender.” The honor of the Japanese people goes beyond the Bushido, into the deeper layers of human development, determination, and Divine nature.
The traditional culture of the Japanese is a rule-bound system which requires conformity to established absolutes in order to ensure civil harmony. They are expected to be well-behaved and to place the well-being of the community over their individual wants. They have been proven to endure the most punishing human cataclysms with self-abnegating stoicism. They, in this sense, are a model of Godliness; the peacemakers, the poor in spirit, the meek. Perhaps the Japanese have been targeted by the incursions of tempests, and earthquakes, and great waves heaving themselves over their watery boundaries, that they might be an example of how we are all are to be proven during the convulsions of the latter days.
Japan was a nation in the midst of economic recovery. They have suffered financial crises, natural disasters, and wars as far back as memory can reach. Japan has grown to be a religiously diverse nation, with a thriving Christian community. There are more than 125,000 Mormons, LDS temples in Fukuoka, Tokyo, and Sapporo, and hundreds of Mormon missionaries. Japan’s sun was rising once again. And one can’t help but wonder why this convalescing democracy and its good people must suffer the worst hardships humanity has ever faced.
I am never embarrassed by my country, and I will always proclaim proudly that I am an American. But the events of the past month in this country; in the states of the upper mid-west, and in Washington D.C., have revealed the face of “the ugly American” in a very literal sense, and I am ashamed of them, their tantrums, and their complete loss of honor. If those who are exerting the worst of human aspects, because governors of states are making hard economic decisions, are the face of the American Left, then losing face for them would not be such a bad thing. Americans can use the ugly left, their union thugs, agitators, rioters and looters, in contrast to the gracious Japanese who have suffered real harm and insult, to gain a little perspective on what is really important.
Japan and its good people have been devastated, and no soul in that country is unaffected. A nuclear power plant has been rocked by an explosion. Thousands are missing and entire communities in the north eastern coastal regions have been pushed inland and scattered across the landscape, or swallowed by the sea. The economic ripples, like the surge of the tsunami that grew in concentric waves until it hit every shore along the Pacific rim, will affect all nations of the world. Americans must pull together and employ the restraint and selfless honor of the Japanese if our republic is to withstand the destructive waves of natural, economic, cultural, and personal tribulations. I hope those agitators and community organizers who are debasing themselves with their actions and rhetoric, will pause for a minute, cease stripping the last shreds of flesh from their skeletal state budgets, and regard the Japanese people with quiet admiration.
The honor of the Japanese is a Godly thing. It will surely help to preserve them through this emerging calamity. And their example of composure and constancy is a standard to which we should all measure our own reactions to adversity. The rising sun of the honorable Japanese is a light on a hill, a vision of Godly austerity. As our prayers of faith are said in their behalf, and our charitable contributions of money, resources, and effort reach their wanting hands, we should pray for ourselves too; that we can take upon ourselves the honor of the Japanese.