Us-vs-them Thinking Hurt America in WWII and We Can't Go Back

Seventy-six years ago, our country made a grave mistake. Amid the fear and confusion brought on by the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Americans allowed prejudice and suspicion to take precedence over our constitutional rights. Today, as fear of the "other" threatens to once again drive public policy, we need to be mindful to ensure that history does not repeat itself.On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, paving the way for Japanese American incarceration during World War II. Although the order never mentioned Japanese Americans by name, the rhetoric and policies that followed made clear its intended target. Over the next few months, 120,000 innocent men, women, and children -- more than two-thirds of them American citizens -- were removed from their homes by U.S. Army soldiers and imprisoned without due process. Families were torn apart and livelihoods destroyed, all in the name of national security.As a descendant of Japanese Americans unjustly incarcerated during World War II -- my parents and grandparents were imprisoned in Minidoka, Idaho -- I am intimately aware of the danger in this kind of us-vs.-them thinking. I know what happens when we stand idly by while our most vulnerable neighbors are vilified, when we break the promises of the constitution in order to cling to a false sense of security. Our country has been here before, and it is our responsibility to ensure that we do not go back.  Continue reading...

Copyright The Dallas Morning News
Contact Us