...getting back into the grind.
I'm actually surprised it took this long. Perhaps it is just the unfortunate fact that I had little care for what was happening outside what needed to be done; perhaps it was an overdose of politics applied at the same time as obligations here took up far too much of my time.
Some lessons learned:
. Equally applicable to both my last country-of-residence and my current one, There Is No Trusting Democratic Parties. There are good people *in* both the Democratic Party of Japan and the U.S. Democratic Party, but they are minnows in a sea of Statist sharks. The powers-that-be, in both parties, are each in their unique ways opportunist demagogues antithetical to Representative Governance. cf. Ozawa Ichirou (I. Ozawa) and Nancy Pelosi, just to pick a couple easy examples.
.. Very, very few people care about politics and politically charged matters (like oh say National Defense) *until* they are personally threatened with injury. The ones that do have almost all either lived in or spent a large part of their lives in the company of exiles from countries that have allowed Statism to trump Liberty. They know what it means to have Liberty by the simple example of having seen what it is like to not have it. Whether they were the oppressed who cast off a national tradition of Tyranny or the once-free who faced the loss of everything they had when the oppressors came into power, they *know* what is wrong with Statism, be it Stalinism, National Socialism, the Theocrats or the petty dictators who wrap themselves in the cloth of Social agendas while making certain that they are "more equal" than others... and often steal to do so.
... As far as countries go, your laws, your constitution, your system of social and political order *do not* have to stand up to the test of an Ethical Defense. They need only fulfill the forms of legitimacy to be granted international acceptance *until* another power that has interests different than yours and the power to enforce its interests comes over and kicks sand in your face. So long as that power's interests are aligned with what you are doing, you can even be granted legitimacy without fulfilling the forms. Compare and Contrast: Honduras forcing out M. Zelaya; Niger's Military overthrowing the Presidency of Mamadou Tandja. One entirely legitimate but villainized; the other legitimate-only-by-its-necessity but almost applauded.
.... (Lesson Relearned) Just because it is "my" country, it doesn't make what they are doing right. Same for "my" team, "my" party or "my" faction. One need only look at the manipulations of the rules in international political matters that happens when a nation's short term interests are deemed more important than making the ethical choice to see that go the wrong way. See Japan's recent performance at the CITES conference regarding the collapse of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna stocks to see a prime example in the shame department. It is still "My" Country, Right or Wrong, but it is as much my job to point out when 'wrong' is what is happening as it is to cheer for 'right'. Double that when 'wrong' is also 'stupid'.
..... What I do here is a single candle. I can not, and should not, expect that it either lights a great space nor that it kindles a larger fire. It, at best, helps a few people know a little bit more and be a little bit better at choosing sides when contentious issues arise. Sometimes I can correct misapprehensions; more often I can just call things as I see them and then like the proverbial "successful teacher" have the pride of seeing someone who listened to me once go on to demonstrate that they are better for having done so. Agree or disagree, that matters not. That they do so in an informed way is the only reward.
...... There is no "going home". For one thing, there was no "home town" in my case. I get to visit the "home" of some of my family members from time to time (not often enough, sadly), but there was no sense of any one place really being "home". Here in my latest and hopefully last adopted country, I have my own family; my own house; some modest amount of purpose. I've lived in this town longer that any other single town in my entire life. Call me a colonial if you will; I come from a long line of folks who picked up and moved, sometimes not at a choice of their own, but when they did move they found a way to build upon their love of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Property (John Locke's inspiration, carried into words by the Virginia Declaration and slightly reworded by Thomas Jefferson and Co. in the USDOI). With that, I can but only add '...that may my presence here make a difference for good'.
....... there has been more, but that's enough for now.
So, with gentle regrets for time absent,
Here's to doing more of that "make a difference" goal.
My deepest thanks to those who have supported what I do, and I'll keep at it.
Lord knows, there is enough to keep me busy.