Scrolling through my Facebook news feed lately has been depressing, frustrating and down-right sad. Seeing posts from supposed professing Christians, regarding the trajectory of this country and the reasons why have broken my heart. It’s also compelled me to write the following blog post. This may not make me popular or liked, but as a blogger, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t use my platform to say something. As you read this post, please keep the following numbers in mind: 300, 19, 2, 21:
December 7th, 1941. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor launched the US into the second world war. Carried out by several hundred Japanese servicemen (estimates are the in 300 range), it was the biggest terrorist attack ever on US soil based on loss of life, until September 11th, 2001.
The attack also brought with it fear. Fear that those that looked a certain way, even though they were American, were a danger to those around them. So, in February of 1942, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the establishment of camps on the west coast to house Japanese Americans. Keep in mind that none of these people had committed any crimes. They were sent to the camps solely based on their appearance and heritage. Men, woman and children resettled in these tiny places on the west coast. The United States Census Bureau even assisted the government with resettlement by providing neighborhood information (confidential at the time) on Japanese Americans.
It wasn’t until 1988 when President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act that the United States formally apologized for the internment of Japanese Americans and reparations were made as part of that apology. Thousands of American citizens were punished for the actions of a few hundred Japanese.
Now, let’s fast forward to September 11th, 2001. On that horrible day, 19 men, claiming to be devout Muslims, boarded 4 US planes and hijacked them, killing all aboard, including those lost in the Pentagon and Twin Towers.
Since that day in September, our country has changed. Or rather, we’ve reverted back to what we had been. A country full of fear of “them.” This latest attack by 2 supposedly devout Muslims in California has deepened this fear. This fear was grown from the actions of 21 people. 21 people have determined the actions of thousands across this country.
A few months ago, I saw a video posted on Facebook. I can’t remember the title, but the author of the video was spouting that our country had been overcome by “them,” meaning Muslims. The accompanying video showed a crowd of Muslim women in full hijab walking across a street. No shouting of anti-American slogans, no violence of any kind. Simply walking across the street. And yet these women were met with hate and disdain. For being who they are. For daring to walk across the street as a minority in a country that’s supposedly, “the land of the free.”
As a nation, it is passed time we take a hard look at ourselves and admit that we are still punishing a whole group of people over the actions of a few.And to stop this madness. If we can’t do that, I’m afraid we’ll be repeating our actions from the past.
George Takei appears courtesy of Youtube and Democracy Now!