new year's resolution: persevere.
Table of Contents
Last year about this time I cut short my annual report and excused this abrogation of self-imposed duty with the thought that I was no longer the solitary figure in Asia that I once was, and that I had more important things to achieve in my life than write about myself. I believe to have erred — and this, for the simple reason that, if I do not care about me, why should or would anyone else, unless, of course, I were some high-ranking person on whose position many depended, and whose person were difficult to replace. Obviously, I am not the President of the United States, US Senator, or some other important, elected, political leader. This said, I did have an idea that I thought bigger than myself, and I focused on my idea. This said, ideas come easy and are of little value until they are shared and implemented. In any case, my idea is now after significant struggle at least clear to me, and it makes for a good first step toward implementation. There were many conceptual impediments that needed to be cleared within my own mind — impediments that will surely have to be cleared in the minds of others before my idea can become meaningful and therefore implementable. Alas, my goal is vast, and I am very small at this point in the scheme of things. Consequently, I must care for myself, until I have come of age, so to speak.
Alas, I continue to occupy the same valuable position that I once occupied in Asia, but now in America for a very different reason. Rather than an alien resident who refused to reveal his nationality while exploring the cognitive depths of his host nation, I am now a resident citizen in a nation that I once thought to be my own, but no longer recognize as mine. So alien do I feel that I am, indeed, often treated as an alien. Where, in Asia, I wanted to become close and was eager to engage, I am now reticent to embrace and even hesitant to wander out — this, despite the important truth that I so badly need to share. Surely I am not so timid!
Unlike other Americans who have lived through the changes of the past several decades incrementally, I have experienced them in very large gulps. Before my seemingly permanent return to the United States in 2015 I had spent nearly all of the previous 25 years living among the members of various host nations quite foreign to my native land. And, these 23 plus years do not include all of my overseas experience. Until now I have lived in eight countries on three continents for at least a year in each country. During my combined sixteen years in Japan and Hong Kong from 1991 until 2007, for example, I returned to the United States only twice: once just after the death of my father to be with my mother, and once to be beside my mother on her death bed. The time spent in the US could not have been more than three weeks! In effect, I have experienced the past eight years in reverse cultural shock that I have yet to overcome. The reasons for this are numerous, but, in the end, unlike many Americans who have surrendered America to the world's globalists, I have experienced how the people of other nation's and governments behave toward foreign nationals and believe my own countrymen to be very foolish. This is to say nothing about how much America changed during my absence.
In general, I spend little time thinking about individual people and much time about the societies in which they live and how I can make them better. America has not been an exception for me in this regard. Accordingly, I prize my solitude greatly and am willing to suffer a certain amount of loneliness in order to preserve it. This, of course, leaves me vulnerable to my own emotions that, if not properly cultivated, can lead to ruinous ends. Human beings are highly sociable animals, and my lifestyle moves counter to what most are accustomed. Hence, when I finally engage my fellow humans, they can be easily overwhelmed by my desire for human contact. It is for this reason, in fact, that it is very healthy to sit down once a year and reflect on my own person and the events that have consumed my interest during the past year. Then too, things that one can still remember from the year past are likely to become stumbling blocks or stepping stones in the year ahead, and it is a good idea to sort them out.
In this light I have performed a disservice to myself by failing to recount.
Perhaps this disservice came about in my eagerness to shed my Asian experience of which the Zodiac framework that I have been using as the framework for my self-reflection is a stern reminder. You see, I live in an apartment building that is dominated by Chinese — many of whom speak no English and have no desire to learn the language. For others among them the English language is merely a language of convenience. They turn it off and on depending on the circumstance. It is amazing how little they understand when they wish to avoid trouble, and how easy it is to communicate with them when it is to their benefit to do so. Indeed, the building's community events are dominated by Asians primarily Chinese and Vietnamese. I would be very surprised to learn that even half of them were American citizens. Not so long ago, I was asked by one of the clearly American residents among them why I never attend the social events sponsored by the building's management team. My reply was simple, “I do not speak Mandarin and have never been to Vietnam”.
I thought English was the language of America, but every community event is advertised in three languages by the building's social coordinator. Swahili, the native language of one of the foreign residents living on my floor, is not among them. I wonder how she must feel. No, I really do not care. She is one of those who will take all that you are willing to give, and when you stop giving, because nothing is returned, you are resented for having made her feel that something could be owed. I used to be very welcoming toward foreign residents, but that was before I realized that America is being overrun by very un-American thought and behavior.
In the past, immigration in America has always meant assimilation into the majority culture. Yes, new immigrants have always gathered together and formed their own communities. Their progeny, however, attended American schools and soon found their way into the American workforce as English speaking members of American society. Government documents were not written in several languages to ease the immigrant's transition, nurture his colonial settlement, and prolong the sense of alienation for both him and his American hosts. In the past Americans have welcomed new immigrants, but it has — at least until recently — been the duty of the immigrant to find his own way. It was never the duty of the state to provide the training or the translation at the tax-payer's expense. You were welcome in America &8212; not to become a dependent on your fellow Americans, but to sink or swim depending on your industry and luck — just like most every other American before you. You earned your right to claim America as your home. It was not presented to you as a gift. America has always been a struggle, even for Americans. Liberty does not come without substantial sacrifice, and we tend not to place very much value in things that we take for granted. In this latter regard, the struggling immigrant has always served as a constant reminder that teaches us gratitude for being born and bred in America.
Things have changed. Today, it is all about entitlements, victimization, and minority rights. Even statues of our nation's founders are vandalized and torn down by vigilante mobs. It were as if Americans resented being American. Certainly their goal is anything, but the preservation of America. But, what exactly are they for? They speak of diversity, equity, and inclusion, but they practice racist discrimination, theft, and exclusion. Indirectly, if not directly and openly, they seek the destruction of the family, the collectivization of private property, one party rule with top-down dictation, and justice for all, except for those whom they deem just! Or, is it unjust? It is all so confusing, and purposefully so. For in confusion, they breed chaos, and in chaos, we humans call out for order and foolishly in our desperation open the door for dictation.
I come from one of those homes that one could easily consider broken. Unlike my younger brother who was born into a broken home; however, I was raised in a family that became broken. In this regard, I was more fortunate than my younger brother.
No, I will not pretend to know that to which I was never made privy and — to my parents' credit — remained pretty much an affected observer. Then too, I was hardly an innocent by-stander, for surely I contributed to what for my parents must have been very trying times. Then too, American society was in a state of convulsion at the time, and we were all effected. In any case, these are all long times past, and there is no sense in belaboring them here or any more for that matter.
No matter, there are times when one misses his family. So, I thought that I would reach out to my younger brother after so many years of silence and separation. He is the only remaining member of the five-member nuclear family in which I was raised. After two hand-written letters sent by snail-mail over a several month period my brother responded with a telephone call. It was not an unpleasant conversation, but it was pointed out in the midst of it that I have always had trouble with family. I detected a lingering finger of blame and moved on.
We spoke little about our personal circumstances and focused our attention on the American political scene and how much America has changed during our life time. In these matters we largely agreed. When I asked him whether he was politically engaged to improve things, he demurred. Then too, like me, he voted for President Trump in 2020. I was relieved. I did not ask him whether he belonged to the same Christian Church whose minister I had twice met, and who, on the second occasion, appeared to stand as a road block between my brother and me.
When I mentioned, in passing, that I was writing a book, my brother did not bother to ask what it was about.
When I invited him to a future ZOOM call he indicated that he was not into computers, where upon I suggested that two senses (visual and audio) were better than one, when all five were not possible. He declined. I asked that he consider the matter. July 4th past. Thanksgiving past. My birthday past. Christmas past, and now it is the New Year. Nothing. Not so much as a Christmas card. Maybe family is not so important after all &8212; well, depending on the family and its members.
Leave sleeping dogs where they lie?
In any case, he now has both my telephone number and my address. I tried. After all, he is my younger brother. Will we speak again before he passes?
This year I will complete my review. I just do not know when. There is simply so much that cannot be left unsaid.
New Year's Resolution: Persevere!