2018年3月27日 星期二

RCP Morning Note, 03/27/2018: Praising Compromise; Tariffs; Lincoln Brigade; Tree Diplomacy Blossoms


Carl Cannon's Morning Note

Praising Compromise; Tariffs; Lincoln Brigade; Tree Diplomacy Blossoms

By Carl M. Cannon on Mar 27, 2018 08:46 am

Good morning, it's Tuesday, March 27, 2018, and spring finally seems to have arrived here on the East Coast. If you live in the Washington, D.C., area, that means cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin and assorted other places in and around the nation's capital. Those trees were first planted on this date in 1912, a springtime show of friendship between American and Japanese people.

The citizens of neither nation knew that much of the world would soon be plunged into a catastrophic global war, let alone that the Great War (as it was known in the early part of the 20th century) would lead to World War II -- a conflagration that would pit Japan against the United States.

All of that would come later, and in a part of the story that is less known, Japanese trees would figure in the healing process.

I'll have that story in a moment. First, I'd point you to RealClearPolitics' front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion columns spanning the political spectrum. We also offer original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following:

* * *

The Key to Keeping Our Democracy: Compromise. Illinois Congressman Dan Lipinski reflects on the ideological purity tests that permeate politics these days and underpin legislative gridlock.

Don't Blame Tariffs for Rising Costs. Todd Hitt argues that a labor shortage is the culprit, and calls for immigration reform and other steps as remedies.

China's Alleged Intellectual Property Theft Is Alarmism. RealClearMarkets editor John Tamny asserts that very little IP is relevant to the marketplace, and turning it into something profitable is rarer still.

The Trend Toward Inequality Has Slowed, But So Has Income Growth. Also at RCM, Gary Burtless assesses the data.

The Decline of the Moderate Democrat. In RealClearPolicy, the bipartisan group No Labels details how Democrats have lost ground at the state level.

Immigration Compromise Is a Winning Strategy for GOP. Also in RCPolicy, Michael Meyers writes that a deal to secure the border and protect "Dreamers" would be good politics for Republicans.

Education Reform Must Include Discipline Reform. Abel McDaniels and Erin Roth urge Republicans not to roll back Obama-era guidance on discipline reform.

To Motivate STEM Students, Ask Them Better Questions. Also in RCEd, Richard C. Larson makes the case for changing the way math is taught to get students more excited about STEM.

Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain. In RealClearHistory, Brandon Christensen spotlights the American soldiers who fought in the Spanish Civil War.

* * *

The ceremonial planting on March 27, 1912, was led by Iwa Chinda, wife of Japan's ambassador to the United States, and first lady, Helen "Nellie" Taft. The idea for planting the trees in our nation's capital originated with a woman named Eliza Scidmore, who had first come to Washington as a child during the Civil War. Her father was a Union Army officer; her mother volunteered at military hospitals. Eliza grew up, went off to Oberlin College, and returned as a Washington correspondent who became a travel writer and an explorer. One of the places she explored was Japan. In 1885, on her first visit to that nation, she became enamored of cherry tree-lined promenades in Tokyo.

She thought they'd look lovely in her adopted hometown and she floated the idea to a succession of U.S. Army superintendents responsible for overseeing the reclaimed Potomac River waterfront, only to be ignored.

It was Nellie Taft who helped her get the project off the ground. As part of her efforts to raise private money to purchase cherry trees, Scidmore wrote a letter to the first lady explaining her vision. That plea found a receptive audience. Mrs. Taft had lived in Japan herself and knew the beauty of those trees firsthand. The next day, she asked a visiting Japanese consul about the availability of the trees -- and was immediately promised 2,000 of them as a gift.

That first batch that arrived from Japan in 1910 was infested with bugs and had to be burned, a delicate decision that went all the way to the president's desk and which prompted apologies all around. By March 1912, however, a new shipment of 3,000 Yoshino cherry trees arrived and were planted along the Tidal Basin.

There, they thrived and became a part of the landscape, and a source of civic pride for Washingtonians and American tourists alike. By the early days of Franklin Roosevelt's administration, D.C. schoolchildren would reenact the planting each March. In 1935, the Cherry Blossom Festival was launched as an annual event. Seven years later, however, Japan and the U.S. were locked in a deadly war, suggesting that the cherry trees' power as a symbol of friendship was limited.

Or was it?

Among the casualties of that war of attrition fought across the Pacific were Tokyo's own trees. In 1952, Japanese officials asked for American help in restoring the groves of Yoshino cheery trees in a place called the Adachi Ward in Tokyo. The National Park Service responded by sending grafts from the descendants of those same 1912 trees back to Japan's capital city. Today, the cherry trees thrive -- on both sides of the ocean.

Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)

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