I keep in mind my mom’s tears as she and our father gathered us up, with our valuable few belongings in hand. She was decided to deliver a stitching machine, fearful that we would wish to make or mend garments the place we have been headed. She wasn’t positive the authorities would permit her to take that Singer machine, so she stored it a secret, even from us. She managed, nevertheless, to pack a number of treats for us youngsters for the lengthy journey forward.
Yearly, on February 19, we Japanese-People honor today as Remembrance Day, and we renew our pledge to ensure what occurred to us by no means occurs once more in America. I’m all the time amazed, and saddened, that regardless of our decadeslong efforts, so many younger individuals at present are usually not even conscious that such a tragedy and miscarriage of justice befell right here.
And I develop more and more involved that we’re careening towards a future the place such a factor would once more be potential.
I can’t assist however hear in these phrases horrible echoes from the previous. The internment occurred due to three issues: worry, prejudice and a failure of political management. When the administration targets teams at present, whether or not for exclusion from journey right here on the idea of faith and nationwide origin, or for deportation based mostly on their undocumented standing, I do know from private expertise that these aren’t finished, as they declare, really within the identify of nationwide safety.
No, as an alternative they’re meant to strike worry into communities, to point out the muscle and “toughness” of a brand new president, and to divide the citizenry towards itself. These are the acts of a despot, not an elected chief.
I’ve devoted my life to standing towards our nation’s impulse towards demagoguery and tyranny by the whipped-up plenty. The reply lies not simply in schooling, however in empathy. The false narrative — that there are those that belong right here and people who don’t — is designed exactly to divorce us from the reality that we’re all right here and on this collectively.
We’re an interdependent individuals, sharing a standard bond of humanity. Probably the most pernicious facet of Trump’s insurance policies is thus the denial of these primary bonds and that humanity. I can’t stand for it, and no individuals of excellent conscience ought to.
The query earlier than us, then, on Remembrance Day is an easy one: Will America keep in mind? The internment isn’t a “precedent,” it’s a stark and painful lesson. We’ll solely study from the previous if we all know, perceive and keep in mind it. For if we fail, we most assuredly are doomed to repeat it.