Just when I thought reality couldn’t get any weirder, I find out that there is a bill in Congress that, if it passes, will earmark $173 million to establish a training program for young people planning to enter the US Military Academy at West Point, with the intent to educate them in—and I quote—”inspirational leadership techniques…as demonstrated by characters from a variety of popular Japanese animation series, such as Tengen Toppa Gurran Lagan [sic]”. If you can suffer through the convoluted legalese, you can read all about it at the Library of Congress site [EDIT: Link isn’t working right for some reason; I’ll try to figure out what’s wrong and post a working link soon]…or you can just stay here for my very brief summary…
I must say, Wow. This just boggles the mind; I never had any intention of writing anything even remotely political for this blog, but as a self-avowed otaku, this is just so incredible I felt I had to stand up and draw some attention to it. Sponsored by North Dakota Representative Kyle Hebert (Independent), this bill will “recognize the inspirational themes and leadership styles exemplified in the varied genres of modern Japanese animation” and “educate future servicemen and servicewomen of the United States Army in unconventional styles of team organization, managment [sic], coordination, and leadership“, citing “outreach to the growing fraction of today’s youths who already identify with Japanese animation” and “overcoming conventional thinking which hinders our nation’s progress by labeling lofty goals as ‘impossible’“.
Of course (and here’s the real downer of the story), there isn’t a lot of support for this bill in Congress, given the current state of the economy. So far only Tony Oliver (Independent, New Hampshire) and Michelle Ruff (Libertarian, Rhode Island) have given it any attention at all, so likely it will just die on the House floor, which would be more than a little sad.
I’m no political activist—I scarcely keep up with most of the goings-on of the Democrats and Republicans, but here’s my modest proposal: everyone needs to write their Congresspersons (e-mails work great; most Congresspeople are tech-savvy these days, or at least have aides who are), telling them how much they were inspired by anime, and encouraging them to support House Bill 2279, because in the current troubled times, we need heroes for whom the magma of their souls burns with a shining flame.
So far I’ve just gotten one uninteresting form-email response from Ruff’s office, but if anybody gets an interesting response, please let me know about it, and I’ll publish excerpts (duly attributed, of course) in a later post. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org (I usually allow comments with minimal moderation on this blog, but given that this is a fairly serious topic, and emotions tend to run deep on political issues, so I have decided to disable comments on this post for the time being).