Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Japanese Internment Hero Dies

In the wake of the bombing of Perl Harbor, after the humiliating defeat of the American military presence on the Philippine Islands, the country made the worst choice in its history (slavery was an inherited problem, not a choice that the country made). The country decided that it needed to round up all people of Japanese decent and put them in camps.

Rounded up, and put behind fences. These were not Japanese nationals. These were American citizens. Their Constitutionally guaranteed rights striped from them. Their homes confiscated.

I often wonder if anyone stood up for them. Did anyone say this is wrong?
Yes. One man did. He is a great hero of freedom, and the Constitution. Just as those who died during the revolution were heroes of freedom, so is this man. In 1942 Gordon Hirabayashi said:
"This order for the mass evacuation of all persons of Japanese descent denies them the right to live. I consider it my duty to maintain the democratic standards for which this nation lives. Therefore, I must refuse this order of evacuation."
For his refusal to go to the camp, Dr. Hirabayashi spent over a year in jail. He was vindicated nearly 40 years later when the Supreme Court upheld that the interment of American citizens violated the Constitution.

In the face of such an evacuation, would you be able to stand up and say "No"? Would you have the courage in the face of such hate to say, "I am an American, and this is wrong."?
"It doesn't matter now a days." You say "This could never happen again."
Last week the President of the United States signed a law that gives the Executive Branch the power to apprehend and intern, American Citizens without charges and without trial. Sound familiar?

Dr. Hirabayashi died today. He was 93. He will be sorely missed.


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