LETTERS: It’s just personal …


Dear Editor,

I am not voting for the Republican nominee for president. There are others like me who will not vote for him for a variety of reasons. It might be something as simple as his acerbic personality or his over-inflated ego. It might be his adoring feelings towards (Russian President Vladimir) Putin or (former Iraq President) Saddam Hussein. Or it might be his lack of political skill in maneuvering the halls of Congress. There are certainly a myriad of reasons why, in my opinion, one would not vote for the Republican nominee. For me, it’s personal.

When I was younger my parents, through their involvement and action, taught us kids to reach out and help others. As I grew up and all through my adult life I was involved in groups that helped others. My most long-term and notable association was with a group called the JACL, the Japanese American Citizens League. The JACL is the oldest and largest Asian civil rights organization in the nation. I have been a proud member since the early sixties.

The goal of the JACL is to create “Better Americans in a Greater America.”

After the Empire of Japan ruthlessly attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government said all persons of Japanese ancestry were potential spies and should be rounded up and imprisoned. I was six weeks old when my family was shipped to a detention center at the old Tanforan racetrack where many of us had to live in mucked out and whitewashed horse stalls until permanent camps were built throughout the arid deserts of the Nation.

Many of the Tanforan internees were sent to a camp in Utah called Topaz Internment Camp. They didn’t just imprison those suspected of espionage, but also children and seniors like my grandparents. They were imprisoned in those dusty and freezing camps until the war was thankfully over.

Why am I telling you this story when I am not voting for the Republican nominee? When asked by Time magazine about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II he said, “I would have had to be there at the time to tell you, to give you a proper answer … I certainly hate the concept of it. But I would have had to be there at the time to give you a proper answer.”

There is only one simple answer to that question. He did not have to be there at the time to tell whether he supported it or not. This was a clear violation of the Constitutional right to “due process.” He may have hated the concept, but it was not a “concept.” It really happened. The action by the government of imprisoning 120,000 persons, just because they were Japanese, was a clear violation of human rights, civil rights and especially constitutional rights which he claims to support.

The government eventually recognized this injustice and, through legislation signed by President Reagan, formally apologized for the injustice.

It seems the Republican nominee cannot grasp the simple notion that to separate groups of people just because of their race is wrong! This lack of understanding has made it very, very personal to me.

I could talk about his remarks that all Muslims should be denied entry or a Mexican American judge who could not fairly adjudicate a case simply because he is a Mexican. There were other groups that he also maligned but, in my opinion, he doesn’t understand the difference with being inclusive instead of exclusive or the difference of being diverse instead of being divisive.

His complete lack of empathy and understanding of the needs of all people, white, black, yellow, brown, straight, gay, disabled, or any religious affiliation shows me that this nominee really cannot represent all of the people of the United States. He doesn’t represent the ideals on which this nation was built.

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