Damn, we live in dark times. We’re barely a week removed from the 2016 election, and President-elect Donald Trump’s minions and sycophants are already talking about internment camps. Of course they are! Did you watch the news during 2016?
Anyway, as this New York Times story makes clear, Trump’s Carl Higbie mentioned on Fox News on Nov. 16 that the U.S. internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II made for an excellent “precedent” from which to start going after immigrants:
“We’ve done it based on race, we’ve done it based on religion, we’ve done it based on region,” Mr. Higbie said. “We’ve done it with Iran back—back a while ago. We did it during World War II with Japanese.”
“You’re not proposing that we go back to the days of internment camps, I hope,” said Megyn Kelly, the show’s host.
Mr. Higbie, a former Navy SEAL who served two tours in Iraq, denied that, but said, “We need to protect America first.”
This is unconscionable, appalling and outright fascism. The internment of Japanese-Americans during the war was an authoritarian crime, not a “precedent” we should emulate. And it’s nice to see Hawaii’s U.S. Senator Brian Schatz is in agreement:
“The internment of Japanese Americans was a dark chapter in our history. We should remember it and never repeat the same injustice. Any suggestion that the classification of thousands of Japanese, Germans, and Italians during the World War II as ‘enemy aliens’ should be used as a precedent is immoral and must be rejected by all Americans.”
At this rate, Trump’s cronies will be using the Kent State killings as a precedent for shooting protesters.
UPDATE: A few hours after I posted this, I received a statement from U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono, echoing Schatz’s frustration and anger. Here’s her statement:
The internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II was a historic injustice and nothing like it should ever happen again. The protection of our Constitution is not conditional; it applies to all of us. We cannot allow hate speech, racism, and anti-immigrant sentiment to become the new norm in our country, and we must continue to speak out against hate and prejudice. An inclusive and vibrant America is worth fighting for.
Photo courtesy U.S. Senate