One of the things that I have learned in recent years is that history is a great teacher of how to approach the future you’ll note that in my writings I have pointed out such things as the comparisons to what is going on in America with the sex offender registry compared to the Jim Crow laws, the laws that were passed banning citizens from doing things after the Civil War, the laws passed in the McCarthy era denying people the right to work or participate in society, as well as how documentation was twisted and hidden leading to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II in the internment camps.
Recently I received a newsletter from www.densho.org which is an organization that is trying to make sure that what happened to Japanese Americans never happens again. In that newsletter they pointed to a letter that was written by Martin Luther king Jr. From the Birmingham jail where he had been arrested and confined while protesting nonviolently against segregation during that time he wrote the “Letter from Birmingham Jail“, where he made this statement “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” the statement is as true today as when it was written at the height of the civil rights movement the only thing that has changed is the group of people that are being subrogated by the government.
Organizations like Densho are trying desperately to shine a light on the constitutional injustices that government has already committed or is attempting to commit against easily definable groups of people. On May 15 the Densho organization will be at a ceremony in Seattle commemorating the imprisonment of another non-violent protestor. The King County Council will be placing a plaque near the jail cell that Gordon Hirabayashi entered 75 years ago, for the “crime” of protesting the removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans. From his cell, Gordon wrote these words on July 4, 1942:
“But even though this is America, these things happening today are not American. They are the results of misinterpretations, mis-emphasis concerning the right thing to do, hysteria, and short-sightedness. It is up to those of us who feel that a wrong has been committed, that we have fallen short, to bear witness to that fact. It is our obligation to show forth our light in times of darkness, nay, our privilege.”
The emphasis on the type of people that the government now sees as threats based on false information may have changed in the last 75 years but the reality has not and that is without any solid evidence groups of people that are United States citizens are losing their rights that have been given to them by this Republic’s Constitution. It has happened before and unless people learn from history we may be headed down a very dark path in the future. Our Constitution has guaranteed individual rights to every individual within this country and when government, whether it is the executive branch, the legislative branch, or even the judicial branch, attempts to take away or justify the loss of individual freedoms, then it is counter to the manifest destiny of this country to be the guiding light of the world for freedom and justice.