Skip to comments.Once There Were Giants
Posted on 12/25/2012 7:09:01 AM PST by Kaslin
"Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns.
"With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper's bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge."
--Medal of Honor citation
"Daniel Inouye's career in the United States Senate was as distinguished as it was extensive. He helped steer this nation through triumphs and tragedies, victories and defeats. And he towered above us all with his incredible gallantry and heroism in the Second World War. His passing leaves a long shadow in Congress."
--Chairman Howard McKeon of the House Armed Services Committee
It may not be easy to credit now, but once upon a time the United States Senate could be seriously described as "the world's greatest deliberative body."
The phrase applied to more than the early 19th century, which is when the great triumvirate of Webster, Clay and Calhoun dominated the Senate's deliberations and made it an Athenian forum. They lacked only one quality -- a proper appreciation for the obdurate power of a moral issue. In their case, and especially John C. Calhoun's, it was their failure to apprehend and fully engage the unavoidable, the inescapable, the intractable issue of human slavery.
Even a conflicted slaveholder like Thomas Jefferson could recognize that, despite all the Great Compromises (first1820, then 1850, and then the terrible pact with the Devil in 1854 that prefaced and presaged The War), once a geographical line had been drawn across the Republic separating free from slave states, a fire bell had tolled in the night. As he put in his "Notes on Virginia": "And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever...."
It didn't. And the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword was unleashed. There were not just giants in those days but prophets.
Even lesser figures of that time -- the brilliant eccentric John Randolph of Roanoke and the heroic Charles Sumner -- would put today's nonentities and sonorities in the Senate to shame.
Every institution has its fallow seasons, and the Senate seemed to go into eclipse after The War, as one row of forgettable, indistinguishable, interchangeable portraits succeeded another. But the Senate would rise again in the next century and give birth to a new generation of giants. There was Fighting Bob LaFollete, who bestrode the Senate when Progressive was still an honorable designation, and Robert A. Taft, Mr. Republican -- and Mr. Integrity. Not to mention steely Margaret Chase Smith of rockbound Maine, who wasn't afraid of Joe McCarthy or any other bully. And an ex-Marine named Paul Douglas of Illinois, Land of Lincoln, who would never cease fighting for freedom. At home or abroad.
Great senators may differ in their ideas, their parties, their passions ... but it is not their causes that are most missed now but their greatness. It's as if a race of giants has been succeeded by one of pygmies.
Maybe that's why the death of Daniel Inouye this dismal December affected so many Americans, and caused us to pause for a moment in the day's petty preoccupations, and the Senate's. He stood out -- like a reminder of the Senate's old ways and old glory. For today's Senate is not that of Webster and Clay, or Robert F. Wagner and Robert A. Taft, or even that of Arthur Vandenberg or Lyndon Johnson, but of small men making small compromises in secret meetings, closeted away from the American people lest we hear too much, and know too much, and realize just how little our "leaders" lead.
It's a different, drab era. Issues are obscured rather than debated. In place of Hayne-Webster exploring great issues and great ideas, we have Boehner-Obama negotiating in some hideaway, concocting stopgap fixes, devising deadlines that always seem to be ignored, and making not great history but passing headlines. In place of open covenants openly arrived at, we get backroom deals and legislation that, to quote the remarkable Nancy Pelosi, must be passed before we find out what's in it. And even then, it can be an ongoing mystery. (See Obamacare.)
A senator named Daniel Inouye didn't have to shout for his every word to matter, as when he served on the Watergate Committee. He didn't speak loud or long during that hour of trial and eventual triumph before our long national nightmare had ended, and the moral bankruptcy of a whole presidency had been laid bare.
When the senator from Hawaii did speak, a hush fell, for he went straight to the essence of things. As he did during the Iran-Contra hearings and tangled web. He spoke softly and carried immense authority. His words bore deep, and that empty sleeve spoke even more eloquently. He wore it like a second, invisible Medal of Honor.
Senator Inouye in his quiet way, like Second Lieutenant Inouye in combat, didn't have to be tall to tower over others. We live in hope that he was not the last of his kind, that once again the United States Senate will know greatness. And that the United States of America will, too. And it will.
For who could have predicted, on December 7, 1941, that a 442nd Regimental Combat Team ("Go for Broke"), composed largely of Nisei, second-generation Americans of Japanese ancestry, would become the most decorated outfit in the war that was now suddenly upon us in all its fury? Or that a 17-year-old Japanese kid in Hawaii would grow up to become an American hero -- in war and peace. His life is a reminder that America remains America, and a promise that it will.
It’s no surprise that this was truley the greatest generation. What the hell happened? The self sacrifice and love of country is unmatched. We have been pushed into the cesspool by the bottom dwellers. We have a long climb ahead of us if it’s not to late
Proof of this is we now have John Kerry as secretary of state
Actor Charles Durning died yesterday. He was in the first wave of soldiers hitting the beaches at Normandy and the only member of his Army unit to survive. He was captured by the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge. He will be buried at Arlington. Another member of the greatest generation to pass.
...talk about hero to zero.
Fits Harry Reid and most of the Senate to a tee...
The man is a toad...in a room full of lizards...
Dan Inouye and his group were sent to rescue another unit from Texas. The Army sacrificed Asian Americans to save ‘real’ Americans.
“Proof of this is we now have the COWARD John Kerry as Secretary of State”
There, I fixed it for you..
......Senator Inouye distinguished himself almost beyond belief in war and I totally respect him for that and given the opportunity, I would have been honored to shake his hand for his war time service. I could say the same for McCain.
But, Inouye and McCain went on to soil their legacies, as far as I am concerned, in exactly the same way. Namely, they used their incumbency advantages to get repeatedly elected for up to fifty years..............a true abomination and the purest form of corruption that there is in this democracy of ours.
A freeper wrote in recently that he was tired of democracy and it’s crooked politicians! I’m with him. How bout get rid of the corrupt 535 and replace them with an honest dictator, elected every four years with the stipulaton that ONLY employed people that have lived in the US and are either employed or property owners or both can vote! Then, in appropriate precincts, have about 50 cops at the polls with billy clubs drawn to protect the voting process from the labor union goons and liberals.
Our 535 is now as corrupt as ANY third world country! I think this is why the honorable Jim Demint quit! I.E. he saw no honor in the institution any more.
While it is true that there were titans in our Senate from time to time, it is also true we have had scoundrels, trimmers, and thieves aplenty. The drive to make Senators directly elected by the people was supposed to make them more accountable; it hasn’t really done so. The more the government does, the more corrupt it becomes; and those who enact the laws become more corrupt the more laws they enact.
I am humbled by Lt. Inouye’s sacrifices on behalf of his country; I unfortunately have no respect for Senator Inouye’s politics. God bless Lt. Inouye.
How does that take away from his heroic actions ?
Repeal the 17th Amendment!
I think many third world countries would be shocked on how corrupt they are...
A lot of third world countries the people sent to represent them are there to improve their countryman lives, not to collect wealth and power...like our dirtbags
Incorrect. JCC fully engaged with the institution of slavery.
Unfortunatly, his chosen method of engagement was to promote its perpetuation and extension, demanding that it be accepted as a positive good.
I deliberately stayed off the death and tribute threads to this guy. I still remember the Freepers paying tribute to Molly Ivins upon her death, when twenty four hours earlier they would have lathered her. I'm sorry. I understand not speaking badly of the dead, but it seems hypocritical to me to lavish praise upon people who were one hundred percent servants of the libs.
This man was a political enemy of the good. He was as liberal as Ted Kennedy or Barbara Boxer, and quite smug while going about it. He may have been brave in war as a young man and quite courageous, but afterward he learned absolutely nothing, aiding and abetting our communist enemies throughout a long political career.
Our side always gives tribute to our political enemies at death. But in this case the writing is nearly identical to the tributes of NPR and elsewhere, true liberal bastions.
At least George McGovern was a decent man who though naive, was a good human being. This guy was a mean one, especially during the various media circuses of the eighties.
Just like the hundreds of thousands of white American boys and men sent to their deaths in the Civil War to gain freedom for those whose ancestry was African, right? No , to preserve the Union under the the Constitution. You are far gone to accept racial arguments as the basis of your interpretation of events that have made this country great. If your post is sarcasm , please accept my apology.
The “Greatest Generations” were the first 80 years of America, it wasn’t the FDR through Jimmy Carter generations, like all generations there was good and bad.
Only a left wing media could create the mind washing creation of “the greatest generation”, especially in regards to the ones who destroyed us.
*”Kennedy seems to have inherited the resentment his father Joseph felt as an outsider in Bostons WASP aristocracy. He voted against the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952, and supported various refugee acts throughout the 1950s.
In 1958 he wrote a book, A Nation of Immigrants, which attacked the quota system as illogical and without purpose, and the book served as Kennedys blueprint for immigration reform after he became president in 1960.
In the summer of 1963, Kennedy sent Congress a proposal calling for the elimination of the national origins quota system. He wanted immigrants admitted on the basis of family reunification and needed skills, without regard to national origin.
After his assassination in November, his brother Robert took up the cause of immigration reform, calling it JFKs legacy. In the forward to a revised edition of A Nation of Immigrants, issued in 1964 to gain support for the new law, he wrote, I know of no cause which President Kennedy championed more warmly than the improvement of our immigration policies.
Sold as a memorial to JFK, there was very little opposition to what became known as the Immigration Act of 1965.”*
Harry Ried has stolen his election at least twice. He has to look up to see the pygmies!
We honor him for his service and bravery, but didn’t he end up a commie in his later years?
Bill Clinton upgraded the powerful and very partisan Senator’s award, to the Medal of Honor in 2000.
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