Aloha to an American hero: Daniel Inouye (1924 – 2012)

Aloha to an American hero: Daniel Inouye (1924 – 2012) December 18, 2012

Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii has died.

Inouye was the second-longest serving senator in American history, representing the state of Hawaii in Congress for as long as there has been the state of Hawaii. Inouye was also a war hero and a recipient of the Medal of Honor.

Here, via TPM, is the citation:

SECOND LIEUTENANT DANIEL K. INOUYE, UNITED STATES ARMY, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

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. Second Lieutenant Inouye’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

For a less-restrained account, see the entry on Inouye at “Badass of the Week,” which includes this detail:

When the men in his unit came to the hospital and recounted the events to Inouye, his exact words were, “No, that can’t be … you’d have to be insane to do all that.”

As a Japanese American, Inouye was classified as an “enemy alien” after Pearl Harbor, but as soon as he was allowed, he volunteered for the Army to serve in World War II. Here is a short video of Inouye discussing his enlistment in Ken Burns’ documentary “The War”:!

Think of how polarized the U.S. Senate has become. Then read this statement by the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, on lifelong Democrat Inouye: “He was the kind of man, in short, that America has always been grateful to have, especially in her darkest hours, men who lead by example and who expect nothing in return.”

David Badash of The New Civil Rights Movement notes that Inouye was also an early and ardent supporter of LGBT rights. He voted against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, and was a co-sponsor of ENDA. Inouye was also instrumental in passing the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Badash relays Inouye’s statement on passage of the repeal:

Finally, all brave men and women who want to put on the uniform of our great nation and serve in the armed services may do so without having to hide who they are. My only regret is that nearly 13,000 men and women were expelled from the military during the 17 years that this discriminatory policy was in place. In every war we have had men and women of different sexual orientation who have risked their lives for their country. I fought alongside gay men during World War II and many of them were killed in combat. Those men were heroes. And once again, heroes will be allowed to defend their country, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Inouye led by example, but he did expect something in return. He expected others to be granted the same opportunities he had been given, without discrimination.

Aloha, senator.

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  • EllieMurasaki

    Nobody hates you. We hate the things you say that hurt us. It’s like ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’, except that the things you say that prove you hate us (things like ‘gay sex is immoral, even for those who are only capable of feeling sexual attraction towards members of the same sex’) hurt us, and the things you claim are sinful (things like gay sex between consenting adults) hurt no one, particularly not you.

    I should probably mention that I’ve heard the ‘gay marriage should be legal under Loving v Virginia’ argument advanced by people of color. Somehow I don’t think its use offends them.

    I thought you were taking your bigotry somewhere the fuck else.

  • Kevin, would you like this one?


    “God” is not the proper name of the god of Abraham. The use of “God” as a proper noun stems from a tradition of deliberately substituting something which is explicitly not His proper name, specifically so that you avoid committing the sacrilege of saying His proper name. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yes, that. ‘Jehovah’ isn’t his proper name either. I believe it’s the German transliteration of yodh-he-waw-he, a more accurate transliteration being ‘Yahweh’, which is also not his proper name (though I understand Jews treat those four Hebrew letters as such, so that when they encounter the word in reading the Torah aloud they substitute ‘Elohim’ or ‘the Lord’ or some such; ditto ‘God’, hence the convention of writing ‘G-d’), because the tradition of not using his proper name is so old that we don’t have any record of what the name actually is.

  • The Old Testament uses “יהוה” to refer to the deity. Whether that’s a proper name or not, I can’t say, but (as you say) it is considered one by Jewish tradition. Like all Old Testament Hebrew text, it has no written vowels, and there is no convention about what the vowels are supposed to be; in Jewish tradition the proper pronunciation was  conveyed by one High Priest to the next during the time of the Temple and is lost while the Jews are in exile. When Orthodox Jews encounter “יהוה” in liturgical context we pronounce it “adonoy,” the theory being that we would not wish to accidentally utter the true name of the deity. (Which according to Hebrew phonetic rules might be “yahveh” or “y’hovah” or “yoveh” or “yevoh” or various other possibilities.) But it is considered culturally inappropriate to use “adonoy” outside of such a context, so we generally say “Hashem” (“the name”) instead, or sometimes “Adoshem” when scansion matters.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I had the general idea close enough, at least, yes?

  • Madhabmatics

     yeah man two gay people wanting to get hitched 2000 miles away from you is totally the same as a guy beating you up and calling God a “sky fairy”

    it’s the exact same thing

    that’s a great analogy dogg

  • Madhabmatics

    Other things that are alike:

    Someone wanting to eat chocolate icecream

    and me being locked in a cell for 12 days with no food and water

    you see because I don’t like either of those things,

  • Madhabmatics

    Also just wanna take a moment to point out that this dude said someone would be wrong in the afterlife, and when they merely said “We’ll see” he got mad because THEY ARE SAYING HE MIGHT BE WRONG, HOW DARE THEY.

    I usually hate threads that are like two months old but still have people posting responding to dumb people, but this guy is kinda hilarious in his awfulness so I guess I’ll give this thread my seal of approval.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I thought he flipped out when I told him flat out he’s wrong. I might be mistaken, though, I think sleep dep is capable of fucking with the memory.

  • Madhabmatics

     You’re right, it was your post!

    Still, “How dare you imply I am not absolutely 100% heaven bound” is hilarious

  • EllieMurasaki

    Kind of sad, actually. He really does seem to think that divine justice is less, well, just, certainly less merciful, than human justice. And if that’s the case, he’s getting dropkicked downstairs same as every other human ever born. In that situation, we at least would have the consolation of having reason to believe the eternal torture sprang from refusing to bow to that monster. He would be a loyal servant of that monster, eternally begging for justice or mercy from someone capable of neither.

    Nihilism is far less bleak.

    As I said, lucky him that I’m right and there’s no gods or hell or Judgment Day. Or, alternately, lucky him that some other folks around here are right and whatever deity/ies exist are friendly.

  • I thought perhaps you or others might be interested in additional details.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You thought right, I just, I don’t know, wanted reassurance I didn’t fuck up, I guess.

  •  You didn’t fuck up.

  • Down with the “your-god” talk. It is offensive enough to use a small “g” without trying to relativise the Absolute with a personal pronoun. God is not personal to me- He is God of ALL.

  • EllieMurasaki

    God of all Christians I’ll buy, but god of all people, even those who are certain he doesn’t exist and who would (if your interpretation of him is correct) vehemently oppose him if he did? Yeah, pull the other one.

    I thought you were taking your bigotry somewhere the fuck else.

  • I do NOT hate you. I *DO* believe sodomy and lesbianism are sinful acts. I do NOT believe an act is morally acceptable just because it harms nobody, as a theist; I believe it must also obey God’s moral law- which sodomy and lesbian sexual acts violate, and thus they are morally wrong.
    It is NOT hate to disagree with a “sex for everyone” position. God approves of self-denial for some people. If you don’t accept that, it’s your problem, not His. And He is real. You are wrong, also anyone who throws personalistic language at Christians (“your god”) will be punished on the last Day if they fail to repent. That includes the people at Daily Kos who wrote an anti-focus-on-the-family post referring to the one Lord, as worshipped by Dobson and co, as “their god” rather than “God”.
    And I told you that I am aware of Black people and other POC who believe L-V1967 IS relevant to same sex marriage, but that I am also aware of many who find the comparison along with the use of terms like civil rights and separate but equal extremely offensive and morally wrong, such as the ones I met in college.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I do NOT hate you. I *DO* believe sodomy and lesbianism are sinful acts.

    Contradiction in terms.

    I thought you were taking your bigotry somewhere the fuck else.

  • (shrug) Honestly, you’re free to hate me if you want. Or to not hate me, if you prefer.

    Also, you’re free to consider my sex life with my husband sinful, or morally wrong, or a violation of God’s moral law, or as incurring God’s disapproval. And you’re free to talk as much as you want about how sinful, morally wrong, and God-disapproved my marriage is.

    All of those are civil rights and you are entitled to them, just as I’m entitled to hate you or not, and entitled to consider your behavior sinful, or morally wrong, or a violation of God’s moral law, or as incurring God’s disapproval, or consider you prejudiced and petty-minded.

    Saying the stuff you say hurts my feelings, alienates me, angers me, upsets me, insults me… but I assume you already knew that, and either you just don’t care or you think there’s a greater good being served that justifies you saying it anyway. I think you’re callous in the first case and mistaken in the second, but regardless, you have the right to say all that hurtful stuff and I endorse that right, though I’d prefer it if you exercised it elsewhere.
    OTOH, if you seek to align civil law with your vision of God’s moral law in such a way as to deny us equal protection under civil law, you become my political opponent and I will act accordingly.

  • You are a mortal being with a mortal mind, and your understanding is finite and bounded. You do not know what the Absolute is or is not. Heck, you don’t even know what color socks I’m wearing. Your conception of God is not an aspect of God, any more than your conception of Alabama is an aspect of Alabama. As evidence, I submit that your conception of God may change (as it no doubt has over your life, as I doubt that you had your current conception when you were born), and God is not changed thereby.

    No, your conception of God is a personal aspect of you, and it does not become less so when you use all capital letters to deny it.

    Up with language that encourages people to remember that, including “your god.”

    If you find it offensive, I invite you to think more carefully about what you are trying to defend, and why.

  • I do NOT hate you. I *DO* believe sodomy and lesbianism are sinful acts.

    What a surprise, how about I tell you I do believe that being a Christian is a sinful act because look, my holy book says so?

    How would you feel?

  • Down with the “your-god” talk. It is offensive enough to use a small “g”
    without trying to relativise the Absolute with a personal pronoun. God
    is not personal to me- He is God of ALL.

    You’re like the nastier, meaner version of Ginny Bain Allen, who at least just uses irritatingly false bonhomie.

  • No, it is NOT a contradiction-in-terms. People like you make me want to throw up.

  • EllieMurasaki

    ‘People who are solely attracted to members of the same sex are not capable of having sin-free sex’ is not a morally neutral or morally laudable statement.

    I thought you were taking your bigotry somewhere the fuck else.

  • I would not consider that you hated me- I know Muslims, Jews and Hindus who believe exactly this- that I am wrong, and they are right. I far, far prefer these people to the logically messed-up “my truth/your truth” lobby. I had a Muslim friend for over a year, he was hardcore, we tried to convert one another (unsuccessfully) then got onto other matters. I would not have lasted nearly so long with a Muslim saying “well the Qu’ran’s true FOR ME, but if YOU believe so, the Bible is YOUR truth for YOU about *your god*”… Anyone starts speaking like that, I ask them to explain themselves and if they can’t work out a more sensible position then I end up not speaking to them at all. So there you go.
    And if a Mormon told me I was sinning by drinking coffee, because it’s a stimulant, I would not DARE tell them that they hated me and they either accept me as I am, because it’s my body, my choice, or they fuck off because they are a contradiction-in-terms bigot. No, motherfuck that. I would ACCEPT they disapprove of something I do- and that they couldn’t stop me- and we could stay friends. Love the sinner, hate the sin is absolutely genuine, no matter what radical activists might try to shove into your brains. They are your second worst enemy, behind genuine gay haters.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Drinking coffee? Choice.

    Who to be sexually attracted to? Not choice.

    I thought you were taking your bigotry somewhere the fuck else.

  • P J Evans

     FOAD. Please. (Your god is a monster and hates the world.)

  • Wrong. God is NOT a personal thing, I *DO* know the Absolute because Holy Scripture tells me so, and I will continue to passionately hate the use of personal pronouns that suggest that I am speaking of a mere thing in my head, rather than the Supreme Being Who rules over all.

  • I am clear that I don’t hate you. I consider your “husband” to be no such thing in the Lord’s eyes, hence I will use scare quotes unless I am writing an official document where only the definition specified by the laws of the land is admissible. When I write otherwise, I use God’s definitions (the one God, absolutely not “my god”), hence same-sex “marriage”, etc.  Many pro-family sites follow this practice.

  • He does exist over ALL PEOPLE, in all times, in all cultures, no matter what their personal belief…  because He is the Supreme Being who rules the Universe.
    I am an absolutist and an exclusivist. For me to say any less than this is to deny the Faith.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I am an atheist. If I ever get religion, it’ll probably be Reform Judaism (you know, the one where the rabbi and her wife are both pregnant) or Hellenic Reconstructionism (remind me to write a post for the rest of y’all on how the Greek deities’ sexuality might be described in modern terms–hint, the wrong-like-a-wrong-thing bit about Zeus fucking Ganymede is the bit where we have no reason to believe Ganymede consented, not the bit where they both have penises).

    Whether I get religion or not, I will deny your faith to my dying day.
    Possibly not the day after, but in the wildly unlikely event that your god exists as you describe, I plan to shout to anyone who might possibly hear me that your god is unjust and merciless and deserving of nothing save spit in the face. It won’t save me from eternal torture, but repenting of all my ‘sins’ and eternally proclaiming my devotion to him wouldn’t do that either and would destroy my integrity.

    I like my integrity. I plan to keep it. One of the ways in which I am keeping it is by showing no respect to a hypotheticodeity whose worshippers are in his name showing no respect to me.

    I thought you were taking your bigotry somewhere the fuck else.

  • P J Evans

     He took it to a different thread, I think, douchebeck that he is….

  • Still using that disgusting language (“your god”, “bigotry”) and you will have to accept God’s truth at the end of time like everyone else. Until then, your hate of Christianity is far worse than my mere moral disapproval (not hate) of you.

  • God, Who is Infinite, is NOT a monster. People who think a personal pronoun/ lower-case-g description of Him is acceptable are the problem, not the Lord.

  • Whether to have sex? Choice. Now take your fucking stupidity somewhere the fuck else.

  • It IS  a morally laudable statement. You either have sex with someone you are not attracted to, you are celibate, or you sin. God does not give special snowflake passes to people like you just because they deny His Word.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t hate Christianity. How could I? There are plenty of lovely people who happen to be Christian and whose lovely-people-ness springs from understanding Christianity as a source of love, not (as you clearly understand it) as a source of reasons to morally disapprove of people.
    nb: morally disapproving of someone who has no choice about being the thing you morally disapprove of is the same thing as hating them.

    Anyway, you started this by accusing me of being a “lesbigay liebigot”, so you can’t possibly object to the word ‘bigot’, and how about you take your bigotry somewhere the fuck else like you’ve promised to about five times now.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Monster. Noun. A terrifying and dangerous creature, or an extremely cruel person, or a bunch of other definitions which don’t apply but who cares because your god is accurately described by those two individually or in combination.

    Source of all evil. Noun phrase. Somebody who disagrees with Jonathan Kuperberg, even on such a minor point as whether to capitalize a midsentence common noun.

    I thought you were taking your bigotry somewhere the fuck else.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Nope. I was here first.

    And you’re wrong. Requiring someone with a sex drive never to have sex is a bad thing. Unless the person in question is you yourself, in which case knock yourself out.

  • EllieMurasaki

    It is a harmful statement to make and an even more harmful statement to enforce. Unless you can prove–not assert, not cite an assertion in a book you regard as authoritative and we don’t, PROVE–some benefit from making it and some greater benefit from enforcing it, the harm of making or enforcing the statement outweighs the good that comes from so doing, which makes it immoral to make the statement and more so to enforce it.

    Given the suicide rate among queer teens who’ve been gaslighted into believing that the statement is true, this benefit you need to prove the existence of in order to have a moral case for making that statement, it had better be a doozy.

  • You’re free to disapprove of my behavior, much as I disapprove of yours.

    Ellie isn’t an idiot.

    If you insist on insulting us, I will eventually feel obligated to return the favor. I would prefer not to, though; I don’t think it’s a helpful mode of interaction.

  •  You’re mistaken. You can be as passionate as you like, though… go to town.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Eh, I kept responding to him, which is evidence that on that count he’s right.

    I’m done, anyway. Better things to do with my time. Gonna leave him with a poem, though: “An Indian Upon God”, WB Yeats.

    I passed along the water’s edge below the humid trees,
    My spirit rocked in evening light, the rushes round my knees,
    My spirit rocked in sleep and sighs; and saw the moorfowl pace
    All dripping on a grassy slope, and saw them cease to chase
    Each other round in circles, and heard the eldest speak:
    Who holds the world between His bill and made us strong or weak
    Is an undying moorfowl, and He lives beyond the sky.
    The rains are from His dripping wing, the moonbeams from His eye.
    I passed a little further on and heard a lotus talk:
    Who made the world and ruleth it, He hangeth on a stalk,
    For I am in His image made, and all this tinkling tide
    Is but a sliding drop of rain between His petals wide.

    A little way within the gloom a roebuck raised his eyes
    Brimful of starlight, and he said: The Stamper of the Skies,
    He is a gentle roebuck; for how else, I pray, could He
    Conceive a thing so sad and soft, a gentle thing like me?

    I passed a little further on and heard a peacock say:
    Who made the grass and made the worms and made my feathers gay,
    He is a monstrous peacock, and He waveth all the night
    His languid tail above us, lit with myriad spots of light.

  •  You know what, I do believe that there is one God who is God of all and whose will is for all people.

    And you do not speak for Him. You know how I can tell? Because you presume to, you hateful little man.

  • fiona64

     You should have seen his “loving Christianity” in action over on ReligionDispatches, replete with more obscenity than a stevedore with Tourette’s syndrome.  And boy, was he mad when we pointed out that he, at age 19, really didn’t know enough to school us … yikes.

  • fiona64

     Oh, gad, is  *she* ever a piece of work …