Desmond McGrath
"It's a Joke: a very scary Joke!"
Discovering America in South Korea
By Desmond McGrath
March 15, 2014

Those words were uttered by a store clerk when he noticed me taking the following photograph in the store where he was working part time in for his cousin in a Busan underground mall, while taking music education. He had removed his ear pieces and I could hear the unmistakable riff of BB King from his iPod ear pieces as he talked. He admitted that he had arranged the socks that way just to see what customers reaction would be, He allowed that he was initially an Obama fan, but that the honeymoon was very short as he had quickly changed his opinion after listening to Obama's speech during his world apology tour in Cairo. We had a quick chat before left for Busan Station to catch the high speed KTX to Seoul; I told him how I had heard BB King and "Pine Top" Perkins jamming together in Mississippi a number of years ago.

He said that his dream was to visit the birthplaces of Delta Blues and American Jazz after he graduated. I gave him a business card should that ever come to pass so that he could contact me in the future.

I made it to the KTX station, Korea's High Speed Rail, before my train had even arrived and started to reflect on the past two months; this being my third trip to Korea, the earliest being 20 years ago to Ulsan area with no opportunity to sightsee. I had been in a writers slump since last October with all of the Obamacare nonsense being peeled back on a daily basis like a rotting onion with the smell getting worst and despite all the layers removed the center was still rotten to the core, I still had a partly written article comparing the Obamacare court decision to that of the Dred Scott and Ships Money cases. I really needed this time to myself to regroup my thoughts and think about my future, especially my political writings after working 6.5 days a week since January.

On the way to the station I noticed a very smartly dressed 20-something Korean woman bustling along the street in the light misty rain with a rather unique umbrella with right angle edges between the frame points covered with the American flag, and remembered my backpack from the 70's, that I still have, is decorated like the American flag and my own reverence for all things American since as early as I can remember growing up in Newfoundland. I passed a few farmers peddling their wonderfully pungent green unions on a street corner and lamented that both (proud displays of the American Flag and street side vendors like childhood lemonade stands) are scenes that have all but been purged from the Amerika of "Dear Leader" and his minions; especially when one reads the Forbes Article by Erik Kain "The Inexplicable War on Lemonade Stands," or watch the video where "dozens of cops are sent to shut down a lemonaid stand."

When I was coming to Korea, I reflected on a friend of mine's late father who was a veteran of both the US Marine assault on Iwo Jima and an advisor for the Korean War amphibious landing at the battle of Wonmun, and remembered a conversation we once had 20 years ago when I went to Korea the first time. We were discussing the time difference to Korea and joked with a phrase I believe that he had borrowed from elsewhere "When it is Tuesday in America its 1953 in Korea." Perhaps that statement was reinforced a few weeks ago when I had returned from a Sunday afternoon ferry ride to the island shrine to Admiral Yi Sun-Sin and was walking along the Tongyeong waterfront in howitzer range of the Wonmun Pass and noticed a cowboy statue in the 4th floor bay window of a water front building. Intrigued I found the elevator and went to the fourth floor and when the door opened the first thing I saw was a portrait of JFK and a poster of a farmer in a 1953 Chevrolet Pickup kissing his bicycle riding girlfriend.

It's called "Kennedy Hall," a western style restaurant that was still stuck in the 1960's. I never found out the story behind it from the girl who served me, but plan on contacting the owner to find out it's history; I sat in a stiff but comfortable wrap around lounge chair and looked out over the Tongyeong channel and could see the Wonmun pass in the background and sipped on a few beer before ordering a surprisingly excellent meal. The Irony had not escaped me as I glanced at the photo of JFK on the back page of the menu, how there were Republicans In Name Only (RINO's) who are currently sitting in Congress who are further left ideologically than the most popular Democratic President of the 20th Century, who set America on a course to send a man to the moon, while America now languishes under the regime of a half-breed African Marxist-Socialist who cancelled the Space Shuttle program in favor of a NASA Muslim outreach program, pipedreams of high speed rail but is in reality hell bent on turning Washington into Pyongyang, and how the RINO's, just as I had predicted in my article "Flea circuses, energy starvation & declining quality of life" had indeed snatched defeat from the jaws of victory this past Presidential election cycle.

I had been reflecting on my friend's father's stories of the Korean War, and actually hiked the route he had followed up the Wonmun pass off the beaten path and experienced firsthand the local thorny vine ground cover that were "Worse than Barbed Wire." I remembered well his lament about the fact that General Douglas MacArthur "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away" could have won the war had he not been fired by President Truman, and now instead the two Koreas have been in an uneasy ceasefire for 60 years while North Korea has descended into dark madness of the third generation of egomaniacal self-adulation while the South has blossomed and flourished in its endeavor to be what America's founding fathers envisioned when they wrested their beloved America from the colonial oppression of George III and the incestuous intrigues of the "Venetian Party of the North."

South Korea has prospered so well in contradistinction to the North that the difference is visible from space in a night time satellite photograph; and yet the image of the dark north is the very goal of Americas "Dear Leader" and his Czars and those fellow travelers studiously hidden from public purview. While the current occupant of the Whitehouse continues his quixotic pursuit of having windmills on every horizon, promoting the greatest hoax ever perpetrated against Humanity "Anthropogenic Global Warming" with his child obesity obsessed Dulcinea; bankrupting coal fired power plants in his wake, causing energy prices to necessarily skyrocket – the real agenda is an Alinksyian lowering of the Human Development Index HDI of the United States through the restriction of access to and use of the hydrocarbon and nuclear energy resources that North America is awash with. There are two such distinct borders that are visible from space, both symbols of governmental largesse, corruption and ineptitude, that of the two Koreas and that between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

As the 300 Km/hr. KTX tirelessly and quietly accelerated out of Busan and Busan station I realized that in South Korea, dreams of the people and their government like the KTX, become reality while in America; Dear Leader's "Dreams of My Father" are nothing more than an Alinskyian crack pipe dream that has never worked outside the smoky hallucinogenic din of the Choom gang's lair. Speeding past the terraced fields where small scale farmers coax vegetables by hand with Ho-Mi's from soils well fertilized by the remains of ancestors buried under manicured mounds of grass, devoid of the machinations of the USDA, FDA, EPA or whatever other alphabet soup agency has been created extra-constitutionally; I realized that America is in need of what they call in the software industry a "Cold Reboot." To start over from scratch using the divinely inspired constitution as it was intended to be used.

The Tongyeong live fish market would never be allowed in the USA between the efforts of PETA and local governmental largess spurred on by Agenda21, nor would the local vendors of fresh vegetables be permitted to sell their wares. Likewise in every Korean urban environment there are small scale gardens and chickens that have been all but stamped out in America like the plague under the guise of urban planning, land use or health and safety concerns by Ivy League social engineers, oxymoronically who are neither social nor capable of engineering their way out of the paper bag where they are lost in their elitist dogma. The women in the following photograph were genuinely beaming and radiant of me wanting to photograph them with their catch. It made me think of the old adage "Give a man a fish and you feed him forever, teach him to fish and he feeds himself forever." Yet in America under "Dear Leader, Obama the Imperious" food stamps are offered like "panem et circenses" and community organizers sent forth, paid for by stimulus funds, to encourage more to join the food stamp lines as indentured slaves to governmental largess. Unemployment insurance has been extended so many times that it is on the verge of being as permanent and institutionalized as welfare. In America failure is rewarded and success penalized, while in South Korea hard work and its resultant success is encouraged and rewarded.

The KTX train was so comfortable and quiet that my desire to see the Korean countryside was short lived as I drifted off to sleep only to awaken to the announcement as the train entered Seoul Station.

Once in Seoul for the first time, I was touched by the friendliness of the people in such a large and bustling city, I lost count of the number of times, as I walked around with my camera, "where are you from." On one subway ride I noticed three young men, dressed in army camouflage, in their late teens or early 20's get aboard the metro car I was on and were carrying on a lively conversation in Korean, at one jolt of the rail car one them accidentally bumped me and turned to me in perfect English said "I am sorry sir" I had noticed that they were carrying backpacks with the US logo on it and I asked them what they did in the army? They replied that they were all college students and this was their weekend to spend in drills with the army reserves, one was doing chemistry, another taking music and the third nearly finished his masters in mechanical engineering. I asked them what they thought of North Korea and their response surprised me. The music major replied:

"It's still Korea and we think of it as being led by a crazy uncle who is never allowed to any of our family functions because he drinks too much Soju and becomes an embarrassment. We feel sorry for our cousins who are forced to put up with him and starve due to his Soju addiction. We all dream of the day when we will all be united again as one big happy family"

The mechanical engineer piped in with almost a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr comment: "You can't judge a people based on the content of the leadership's character or misguided ideology"

It was not too long after they disembarked at their stop that I heard singing coming through the metro car and noticed a blind man with a white cane with a mini music system, singing as walked amongst the crowd with an empty plastic bowl. It reminded me of an old blind man I got to know in Paris France 20+ years ago who also busked in the Paris Metro playing his violin. I reached in my pocket and the only money I had left was a 50,000 won note (about $50.00). I reached out and touched his hand so that he would know I had given him something and he felt the bill with his fingers before smiling, thanking me and putting it in his pocket. Then almost on queue almost everybody on my end of the metro car rushed to put money in his bowl before he walked to the next car, it was as if they were ashamed that a foreigner had been so generous to one of their fellow Korean's.

It was that moment that I began to realize that there was an almost hidden side to the Korean identity, long steeped in first Confucianism, then Buddhism and later Christianity; a genetic component to the national psyche. I remember a long philosophical conversation I had at 13 with my older cousin Charlie Cron who was following in his grandfather Charles Cron's footsteps; studying to become a doctor. We were off fly fishing on the weekend and noticed a monarch butterfly; I had just read in National Geographic how they spent winters in Mexico and then migrated to different parts of North America to produce offspring and die. Several generations later the descendants would (with no direct connection between the parents and offspring) find the same spot in Mexico to spend the winter. Charlie and I waxed philosophical that summer night swatting away the hordes of mosquitos, theorizing about a genetic memory, a spiritual code of the creator that exists in a symbiotic relationship to DNA and perhaps no place is a better example that in the daily expressions of gratitude and camaraderie with others than in the Korean people and their shared cultural identity.

Korea has had a long and acrimonious relationship with Japan and the first attempted invasion of Korea during the seven years' war in the late 1500's was all but "fait accompli" had it not been for the naval prowess and success of Admiral and Poet Yi Sun-Sin. He had won every naval engagement against the Japanese (the replicas of his famous turtle ships are in the harbor in Tongyeong) until he was falsely accused of treason and tortured and imprisoned, while a jealous accuser took control of the fleet to a devastating loss of all but 12 ships. Despite the emperor requesting that Admiral Sun-Sin give up the sea battle against unsurmountable odds after being released from prison; Yi's love of country and self confidence in his men and ships transcended the political jealousies that he had endured and prompted him to write a memorial to the emperor that he would go to sea once more. He managed to scrounge one more ship and despite being outnumbered 25 to 1 he annihilated the opposing Japanese fleet without losing a single vessel himself, it was not unlike America's John Paul Jones famous sea battle "I have not yet begun to fight"; Admiral Yi Sun-Sin's victory is considered to be one of the four most famous naval battles in the history of mankind.
    "It is a testament to the noble nature of Yi Sun-sin that in his diary we find no mention of his torture and demotion, nor of political intrigue and persecution. Neither is any trace of his misfortune and disgrace to be found in much of the literature written about him by others. He left no record or statement on the subject of his dishonor and dismissal. As a disgraced private soldier, he kept his silence. And later, when he had to fight with only 13 ships against a 330-strong enemy fleet after Won Kyun's disastrous defeat, he quietly did his duty without blaming anyone."

Following that success Admiral Yi Sun-Sin began and aggressive shipbuilding campaign that was not supported by taxation and was cranking out a new ship every 5 days for the final engagement with the Japanese a year later where the Japanese fleet was utterly destroyed and the Japanese army forced to vacate the Korean Peninsula. It was a Trafalgar moment as Yi had removed all his armor and was struck by a bullet and as he lay mortally wounded he requested that he be covered my his shield, that no one be told of his death. It is by no coincidence that Admiral Yi Sun-Sin's statue near Seoul City Hall and in front of the grand palace is higher and more prominent that that of Emperor Sejong the Great, not unlike Nelson at Trafalgar Square. For he was the inspiration for the Korean Independence movement that started in 1919 and culminated in the end of WWII when the Japanese surrendered to America. His legendary exploits were no doubt in the minds of the South Korean Marines as they came ashore and struggled up Wonmun Pass short leagues away from Admiral Yi's shrine, or those who landed at Inchon under the brilliant leadership of General Douglas MacArthur.

While Koreans are uniting in a common goal as a unique culture and race of people, it is obvious that the real intent behind the US Immigration Act of 1965, subsequent illegal immigration and ongoing talks of immigration reform and amnesty are nothing more than a means to dilute the numbers of Americans who believe in the Judea-Christian principles of meritocracy (which also has roots in Confucianism), American exceptionalism and sanctity of America's divinely inspired Constitution; thus creating a restless rabble to be ruled by demagogues wishing to erase the divinely inspired Constitution from its place of respect and obedience. "Dear leader's" lack of allegiance to America is painfully obvious and he is clearly unfit for office, not only by virtue of his constitutional ineligibility and undocumented past, but most importantly, his continued treasonous transgressions against the sanctity of the constitution and the assumption of monarchical powers, via executive orders, the Constitution was originally written to guard against.

As I walked around Seoul the last full day I heard the familiar tune "Jesus Loves me this I know" with Korean words as a Christian group had set up a banner in front of an old Buddhist shrine with a swastika emblem. It was serendipitous that this was the very tune that the crew of PT 109 sang with the islanders who rescued them and the ocean of difference that exists between JFK and "Dear Leader" who proudly proclaimed that "whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian Nation." Then I realized that everywhere in Korea there are Christian crosses, Swastikas and other religious icons predating even Confucianism, there are no outcry's that any of these offends someone. That is the Marxist-Socialist disease of Political Correctness that has been infecting America, turning the rugged individualists of American exceptionalism into lost panty-waisted metrosexual sheople.

I went to Jogyesa Buddhist Temple for a prayer and in the middle of sending off an email from my smart phone just before entering; a gentleman and his wife offered me a piece of hot rice roll fresh off the barbecue. As I prayed, I cried in the realization that I had found the essence of America in South Korea. I realized that even if I am just mostly preaching to the converted in my writing, perhaps like the parable in the bible, I might reach one lost sheep that might be swayed from his color-blinded obedience to "Dear Leader." Not so very long ago, my friend William Mann reluctantly announced that he was scaling back his political writings due to health issues, but I see no evidence of that in the quality and quantity of material that I find in my inbox. I then realized that neither William nor I could remain silent, no more than Frédéric Bastiat could, considering he was dying from Tuberculosis when he wrote his seminal work "The Law". I realize that none of us who have this fire of Freedom and Liberty burning inside us can so easily extinguish the desire to speak out against the transgressions committed against America and her constitution: (to quote Dylan Thomas) "Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light." Perhaps Patrick Henry summed it up best by his famous quote "Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

Likewise, I see that Jim O'Neil has awoken from his winter slumber with an excellent piece "The Benghazi Difference- We the people and the serious business of cleaning house. Insisting on hearing the truth about Benghazi would be a good place to start." Perhaps the truth about Benghazi will be the keystone that causes the Obama/Biden/Reid/Holder/Clinton house of cars to finally crumble, so that "We the People" can reclaim our country.

I spent the last afternoon walking amongst boisterous crowds enjoying their Sunday afternoon, the demilitarized zone and the nuclear armed third generation Sino-Soviet puppet in Pyongyang was not even on my mind. I soon decided to hike up a steeper route to the north ridge a local mountain it was very cold and crisp and was not warm enough to melt last night's snow in the shade. When I reached the peak and the ancient wall I noticed that the path to my right was blocked with a sign and barbed wire. I could make out an anti-aircraft gun and thought at first it was a Korean War relic until I heard someone shout out orders and the battery barrels arced across the horizon.

It IS a Korean War piece, the divided Koreas are still in a state of war and only a ceasefire exists. I imagined that perhaps one of the fine young soldiers I had met the day before were there doing drills. It was stark contrast to the shops and people down below enjoying their Sunday despite of Pyongyang. It made me think of a quote of American General who rescued South Korea from the North's Communist domination via his bold amphibious assault at Inchon; "No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation." – General Douglas MacArthur.

I walked along the ridge away from the battery and after a 20 minute hike descended down the mountain to a gentler road. There I came across two beautiful and charming Korean Sisters out for a Sunday walk taking pictures of each other. I asked if I could take their photo and the following was the result. They were blissfully unaware of the active gun battery only a few hundred meters up the hillside where eternal vigilance was giving them the security to walk along that road on a carefree Sunday afternoon.

I remembered the famous quote "A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly against the city. But the traitor moves among those within the gates freely, his sly whispers rustling through all alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears no traitor; he speaks in the accents familiar to his victim, and he wears their face and their garments and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation; he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city; he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared. The traitor is the plague." Marcus Tullius Cicero

South Korea knows well who the enemy at the gate is and by extension who the enemies within are. Just this past month as the South China Post reported "South Korean lawmaker Lee Seok-ki was jailed for treason for plotting revolt"; It's high time "We the People" learn from South Korea, the country that 60 years ago we rescued from communist expansionism and start to expose and remove from both elected and bureaucratic office, the enemies within, as Washington teeters on the edge of becoming Pyongyang.

Unlike the noble Yi Sun-Sin who blamed no-one for the dark period in his life, Dear Leader blames everybody but himself for the litany of failures that litter the oval office floor. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said of the 4 dead American heroes at Benghazi "What difference at this point does it make?" I contend that it makes all the difference in the world and that neither "Dear Leader" nor Hillary Clinton are fit for office and should be relegated as footnotes to history as politician's that were never anything more than legends in their own minds where one could wade barefoot through their deepest thoughts and never get your feet wet. That they and their accomplices should be held accountable for the misdeeds and transgressions of their administration from Fast and Furious, through Benghazi and the IRS targeting of conservative groups to NSA spying, not to mention the ongoing Obamacare fiasco of legislative changes emanating from the executive branch.

Every American life matters and no greater example exists outside of America than the Republic of South Korea where more American lives were lost wresting control of South Korea from the Communist North than were lost in the Revolutionary War that secured America's freedom from colonial slavery. It's time we learn from South Korea as an example and start removing the enemies within from the levers of power.

Desmond McGrath

Reporting from South Korea

© Desmond McGrath


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Desmond McGrath

Desmond is a Petroleum Engineer by training with a BSc. (Honors) from Montana Tech as well as two technical diplomas in the area of Hydraulics, Instrumentation and Petroleum Technology... (more)


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