I haven’t had the opportunity to write over the last couple of weeks.
We’ve had sickness in the family.
Our daughter’s two boys have both had German measles (rubella). Although not very serious, it’s miserable. A red rash accompanies a very high fever. Try explaining to an eight-month-old and an eighteen-month-old that it won’t last very long – all they know is that they are miserable and can’t sleep. In turn, that means parents and grandparents are also miserable and can’t sleep! Because they live with us, we were able to help. When our daughter is at work, we watch the boys for up to twelve hours – really exhausting for a couple of seniors.
Our son’s two girls were here for a few of those days. They also got sick, with a high fever but no rash appeared. They were immunized for rubella some years ago. Maybe the fever was rubella trying to break through. Who knows?
We felt somewhat isolated. We didn’t get to church for fear of spreading disease. Rubella can cause congenital defects in babies, so it’s especially important to stay away from pregnant women.
One of our daughter’s friends came over to see the boys. As she is pregnant, we had to ask her to leave. We still felt bad telling a friend to get out of our house immediately!
The sickness seems to be over. Last night, Mom took the boys out for a walk to get some fresh air. So Diane and I had some time to ourselves.
After dinner we rented the movie “Emperor.” I knew it had not made it into theaters, implying that it would not be popular. But I saw it at Redbox and it was only $1.20 plus tax. So I checked it out as the subject matter interested me.
The movie tells the story of the ten days after World War II when Douglas MacArthur, the US general overseeing the occupation of defeated Imperial Japan, had to make a decision on whether to prosecute and hang Emperor Hirohito for “war crimes.”
In spite of numerous flash-backs that made the movie somewhat incoherent (similar to “Alexander,” another historically accurate box office flop a few years ago), the movie was fascinating, especially the last twenty minutes when MacArthur met the Emperor.
There was no nudity, bad language, special effects or excessive violence in the movie, which may explain why it went straight to DVD. But I’m glad it’s available. It saddens me that most Americans have so little interest in their own history. MacArthur’s decision to save the Emperor, arguably, saved Japan, which remains a loyal American ally to this day. It could all have gone so differently if MacArthur had chosen to hang the Emperor – which is what Washington wanted. Revolution and civil war would have likely followed, with Japan going communist like its neighbors China, North Korea, and Vietnam.
It’s hard to imagine so much depended on one man, the Emperor. Well, two men when you factor in that MacArthur had to make the final decision.
At that time, America’s reputation was at an all-time high. Today, it’s quite different.
Putting aside the fact that the Obama Administration is rapidly losing the Middle East and that the US government may be in default in a few weeks, small, sometimes seemingly insignificant events can often have a major impact.
Such is the case with the senseless murder of a 22-year-old Australian student in a suburb of Oklahoma. He was shot by three teenagers who were, quite simply, bored.
Sadly, there was a racial element. It will be interesting to see whether the press makes as big a deal over this one as with the Trayvon Martin – George Zimmermann case. Here the victim was white and the perpetrators non-white, the reverse of the famous case in Florida.
The US press may be inclined to leave it alone but the Australian press won’t. At the very least it will deter Australians from visiting America. At worst, there is talk of an international tourist boycott of the United States, at a time when our hotel industry and some resorts are already struggling. The demand is that the US do something about guns.
Most western countries, including Australia, have strict gun controls. Proportionate to population, the US has more guns than anywhere else on earth. Yemen is in second place, a country with never-ending tribal violence. Could this happen in the United States? Already, our big cities are plagued with gang warfare, a euphemism for ethnic strife.
It’s a tragedy but there’s also an element of farce. One question the world has is why we can’t keep guns out of the hands of teenagers when they can’t buy a beer until they’re 21. That’s a very good question.