Charles Clanton Rogers

Reflections based on poetry, music, visual art, book reviews, history of science, first-person history, philosophical essays and International Blogging

In December, I am revisiting the best-received posts – number ten – a book review
#10 Three Dog Life 12/4
#9 The Evolution of One Writer 12/6
#8 Before I Built a Wall…. 12/8
#7 Birches – Robert Frost 12/10
#6 You Could Be Immortal 12/12
#5 FDR is DEAD! 12/14
#4 Ella and Louis 12/16
#3 Journey of the Human Mind – Introduction 12/18
#2 Writers and The Butterfly 12/20
#1 Lessons from My Grandmother 12/22



pearl harbor

December 7, 1941 The Japanese Naval Airplanes attack  Pearl Harbor, Hawaii – All of the  U.S Battleships – the core of America’s Pacific Ocean defense – on a quiet Sunday, were  almost destroyed in two hours.


“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,”[2]


In recorded history, some days become the Stage upon which a great historical  drama unfolds for the decades which follow.    December 7, 1941 was one of those days.

My first awareness of Japan and the people of Japan was when I was seven years old. Even at seven years, I remember exactly the hour and where I was on December 7, 1941 when paperboys ran down our street shouting: EXTRA-EXTRA, An extra-edition newspaper’s bold headline read JAPANESE SNEAK ATTACK PEARL HARBOR.

newspaper pearl harborIn a few short hours, my little world was expanded to include “Pearl Harbor”, “Pacific Ocean”, “Asia”, “Japan”, “Japanese dive bombers”, “Japanese aircraft carriers”, “sunken battleships”, and “little Japanese monsters”. Some moments in life become the stage for the complex odysseys that play out for years.
In the next few days, all Japanese were vilified. I lived in a world of white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants. We “learned” that the Japanese were little, yellow, non-human monsters with buck teeth, very thick glasses and swords. They believed their Emperor was God. They were not only the enemy but “The Other”, alien, and nothing like us. Our soldiers were told to “Zap a Jap.

Our old nemesis: FEAR, demanded we incarcerate 127,000 Americans because of their genetic inheritance! [3]

[This tragedy with-in-a-tragedy, is revealed dramatically an excellent novel: Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson.] [4]snow falling on ceadars
After four years and numerous horrendous “Iwo Jima’s”, “peace” was purchased with the cost of 48,231,700 human lives.  (5)  “We taught the ‘Japs’ a lesson” by dropping atom bombs on them.

We won The War! My uncle came back from The War, when I was about twelve, with the pistol and sword from a Japanese officer, a gift for me, as war trophies. I never thought about the man who had carried that sword for his country.
About twenty years later, I was stationed in Hawaii and lived on the banks of Pearl Harbor with numerous neighbors of Japanese ancestry. These genuine people, I found, got married, taught school, or were shopkeepers or nurses. They had babies whom they wanted to send to college to become doctors, social workers or artists.

I traveled to Japan three times including Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara.



I found beautiful people, in a beautiful country, who appreciated the tea ceremony and were masters at arraigning flowers. They loved Levi jeans and Les Paul guitars! They were neat as pins and they moved efficiently, with purpose, through exceptionally clean streets. There were no little yellow monsters. I found that the Japanese were not “The Other.”

wall - stone #3
In his poem: “Mending Wall”, Robert Frost addressed, what I believe, is perhaps the oldest, and most destructive forces of human relationships: defining and “Dividing the Pie!”
“The Pie” represents finite (limited) resources. It is a conflict as old as tigers and vultures, predators versus scavengers. Humans history is replete with a cataloging of the conflicts over who gets what when there are limited resources, (which is most of the time). Recorded history is mostly stories of conquering or defending land, water, food, cattle or even other humans.

civil war

Even in “peace”, our democratically elected representatives apparently believe that their primary responsibility is to protect or expand the finite resources of their constituents.
This procedure even has a name: Zero-Sum Game: “of, relating to, or being a situation (as a game or relationship) in which a gain for one side entails a corresponding loss for the other side.” (6)
“The creation of “The Other” is done by highlighting their weakness, thus extenuating the moral responsibility of the stronger self to educate, convert, or civilize depending on the identity of the other. Indeed, as defined by Martin Jones et al., (7) ‘…othering is a term, advocated by Edward Said, which refers to the act of emphasizing the perceived weakness of marginalized groups as a way of stressing the alleged strength of those in positions of power.” “Othering” can be done with any racial, ethnic, religious, or geographically-defined category of people.”
The great religious and moral leaders, for Millenia, have taught that there are higher values that are not finite. Allowing for the basic necessities, our challenge is to overcome the “othering” to promote non-material values such as mutual respect. Ironically, the most enriching and rewarding human values are infinite. The positive emotions and forces of love, caring, nurturing, charity, respect, and knowledge are of unlimited supply so that everyone’s “cup can runneth over”!


There is an infinite amount of the essence of the arts- subjective values of Platonic love and search for meaning by reading and writing!

chorus       orchestra
degas dancer xx

The Zero-Sum Game in this value arena is harmful or irrelevant.

Rosamund Zander proposes defeating “othering” by finding the:”WE story” that already exists, waiting to be uncovered, in human relationships. (8)

My phrase is: There is no them; there’s only us..
It is incumbent upon us when we are differing, to examine our motives and methods. Let us at least identify whether or not we are “othering” our adversary in a quarrel over finite resources.

Extensive revisions December 2015

Charles Clanton Rogers

Please leave a footprint in the comments section; what is your geography? Thank you, Charles
Feel free to ReBlog
(1) Josh Richardson,
(2) Robert Frost, “Mending Wall.”
Independence Hall Association
Over 127,000 United States, citizens were imprisoned during World War II
(4) David Guterson, Snow Falling on Cedars,– Barnes & Noble…/snow-falling-on-cedars…/1…;

(5) Sources: Gregory Frumkin, Population Changes in Europe Since 1939 (European estimates) B. Urlanis, Wars and Population (The Soviet Union and the Far East)
Singer and Small, Wages of War (the Americas and Ethiopia)
I.C.B. Dear, editor, The Oxford Companion to World War II (British Commonwealth)

(6) Merriam-Webster Dictionary

(7) Martin-Jones, David (2002) Becoming-other in time: the Deleuzian subject in cinema. Ph.D. thesis, University of Glasgow.

(8) Rosamund Stone Zander; Benjamin Zander, The Art of Possibility, (Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780142001103, 224pp.)

10 thoughts on ““Before I built a wall…” Post Reviews # 8/10

  1. Janice Wald says:

    There are many articles today about Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. I have been there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bbnewsab says:

    I love this post very much because 1) I like history; and 2) It’s written by a man with first person memories of the Pearl Harbor attack AND who has a deep interest of History as a method to better understand what is happening in today’s world.

    As a matter of fact, sometimes it’s a good idea to look also in the rear-view mirror, if you want to avoid a disaster.

    Furthermore, the man who wrote this wonderful blog post finally draws the conclusion: “There is no them; there’s only us.”

    That’s why that man is also known as the Medicine Man – and the Sage – of the RWT Community. And a week ago or so, he also started a career as outstanding bridgebuilder in the International Blogging Network (IBN).

    I’ve also heard that his grandpa was a real cowboy. And his own dad a popular and very liked scout leader.

    And now to my question: Can anyone tell the real name of that man I just tried to describe and honor? I just know him as KK (Kung Karl, Swedish for King Charles). Maybe he is a real King? With blue blood? Who knows?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. clanton1934 says:

      “It’s GOOD to be KING!” (Mel Brooks, History of the World, part 1)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. bbnewsab says:

    Ah, Mel Brooks – one of my movie favorites. 🙂

    To make the whole world laugh is yet another way to build bridges.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. clanton1934 says:

      I’m going to send you the address for the blogger in Greece; I told her about you.

      Put on your “Fox” hat and invite he to our planet.🌹

      Liked by 1 person

  4. bbnewsab says:

    Is it you, KK, disguised as a ballerina, dancing on your toes?

    If so, I have to say that I admire your agility. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. clanton1934 says:

      Yes, you sly fox; once again you’ve broke my cover; even in a skirt and on my toes ….K

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am afraid “othering” is simple a part of human nature. It is how we distinguish ourselves apart from the rest of humanity, beginning with our mother. I am me. Everyone else is other.

    And, we always are looking for ways to draw the line or distinction between us, even going so far as to split hairs to do so. As in Christianity, dividing into Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic, then Catholic and Protestant, different kinds of Protestants splitting endlessly into factions. I have yet to learn of any merging in that arena.

    The divisions are everywhere: countries, religions, rich/poor, educated/and not, by color, by wealth, meat eaters/vegetarians, by age, by fashion sense, and type of government. It is so pervasive that I dare not hope much will change.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. clanton1934 says:

      I am very familiar with your observations. I grew up in The Presbyterian Church, USA; hours were wasted explaining how that was different than The Presbyterian Church, US. etc. etc. We had nothing to do with the dreaded Catholics not the Jews. The Blacks were even more separate. Islam couldn’t stay unified upon the death of Mohamed. Even the first generation became the Sunnis and Shia and couldn’t make a coalition government in Iraq! Yes all of you examples are confirmed. However, I am 81; I have minimized othering in my little corner of the World. Mahatma Ghandi said: You must be the Change you want to see in the Workd” My wife was raised Roman Catholic we have two sons who were encouraged to make their own spiritual decisions. My 1st son’s closest friend is half black/ half Native American; 2nd son’s closest lifetime friend is half blacks/ Itslyian. I halve a wonderful daughter in law who’s mother is Jewish! I taught in a medical school in which half of the faculty were Jewish we had international students and the patients were of every race , creed and social/ economic class. My son is 35 y/o school teacher. His principal interest is teaching diversity integration. I will go to my grave saying : I’m a small part of the World but in spite of what is mostly fighting for money and power, my family and I have treated our patients and students fairly and with respect. One cannot choose the problems that one faces; one can choose how one responds to the adversity confronted. I have chosen concentrate on ding the best tha I can do; i have practiced and taught to minimize Othering for 59 years. It does work on the local level . In closing, I want to thank you for writing and allowing you and I to discuss and exchange our views in a calm and civil manner. Thank you very much. ccr

      Liked by 1 person

  6. bbnewsab says:

    As a matter of fact, neuroscientists have lately demonstrated, by using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), that there is a strong positive correlation between the fervor of one’s religious faith and intolerance (expressed as xenophobia and homophobia).

    With the help of a TMS tool, the researchers could either strengthen or diminish people’s religious fervor.

    They then found that there is a strong and positive correlation (between the amount of expressed intolerance and the amount of expressed religious fervor) in both directions. That is, increase the religious fervor in a person, and you strengthen that individual’s intolerant views. Decrease the religious fervor in an individual, and suddenly that person becomes more prone to accept homosexuals, Muslims, even atheists, and find them decent.

    So in the light of such research we can guess, or maybe even conclude, that Donald Trump and many other GOP presidential candidate wanna-bes must be unusually religious persons.

    And that is kind of scary. Such people are not bridge builders like KK. They are border closers.


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