Monday, December 24, 2012

A Hero's Passing

So, this weekend marked the funeral of Dan Inouye, the one person in the current U. S. Senate whom I think could be called a hero. I'd been looking at some of his life history just a few weeks ago, and was amazed by how many achievements he had over his long life. Hadn't known he originally planned to be a surgeon, and only switched to politics when he lost an arm in World War II -- fighting for a country that was rounding up his fellow Japanese-Americans and sending them to internment camps. Nor had I realized how long he'd been around in Hawaiian politics, having served in the territorial legislature, then been their first Congressman, then a few years later shifting to become Senator (I was reminded of Jackson's similar long time involvement in Tennessee politics). In short, there's never been a time in the history of the State of Hawaii that Inoue hadn't been one of its national representatives; I imagine it'll take a while for the shock to fully sink in for them. I was rooting for him to break Byrd's record as the longest-serving senator -- Byrd having been a problematic figure (he deserves praise for the principled stands he took in his final decade, but I can't altogether overlook his reputation for bullying in earlier decades, nor his having briefly been a Clansman), whereas Inoue had been on the right side of so many issues for so many years. From winning the Medal of Honor to having the most successful congressional career of any member of an ethnic minority, he was one for the ages. We don't have enough good guys in our government; he'll be missed.

--John R.

1 comment:

Matt Fisher said...


A blog post by Wayne Muromoto will give you, I think, some interesting insights into the WWII experiences that shaped Inouye and so many others of his generation in Hawaii: