George Takei, Star Trek actor and LGBT rights activist, opened up about his own experience with internment camps, expressing fear for Muslims under a Trump presidency.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, fear seized America. This fear forced over 100,000 Japanese-Americans, citizens, into internment camps for the duration of the war. George Takei was five years old when he and his family were taken from their home and to one of these camps.
George Takei has spoken out against Trump during the past election cycle and has yet to let up his campaign against the President-elect.
Trump is naming ideologues and incompetents to his inner circle. Six are hardline anti-LGBT, and his EPA pick is a climate change denier.— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) December 8, 2016
One of the biggest issues Takei has with Trump has been Trump’s promise to build a national Muslim registry in the U.S. According to CNN, George Takei is “concerned it could lead to the same thing that happened to his family after they were placed on a registry of Japanese Americans and forced to live in a prison camp.”
Considering the levels of anger, divisiveness, and hatred as a result of the election, George Takei’s concerns for the future may be legitimate. On the plus side, Trump has already backed down on some of his campaign promises, so perhaps the Muslim registry will fall to the side, and Takei’s concerns will be moot.
George Takei’s first-hand experience of this sort of discrimination gives him a unique perspective on the current times.
“This story of the internment of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War is something that all Americans should know about,” George Takei said in an interview, reports CBS New York. “There’s an important lesson we can extract from it, and particularly now in this political climate that we live in, when they’re talking about Muslim registries. Well, that’s what happened with us too, 75 years ago. They put together a Japanese-American registry.”
Interestingly enough, the violation of Japanese-American rights, including those of George Takei and his family, did not occur under a Republican government, but rather the Democratic administration run by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who, like Donald Trump, used the era’s media effectively.
One of the big bombs during the election was during an interview between Megyn Kelly of Fox News and Carl Higbie, where, regarding a Muslim registry, the Washington Post claims Higbie said regarding a Muslim registry “We did it during World War II with Japanese, which, you know, call it what you will.”
George Takei has pointed out other issues with the future Donald Trump administration, noting that Jeff Sessions, Trump’s appointee to head the Department of Justice, had been denied a judgeship due to racist tendencies. Such an individual might support a Muslim registry.
And there is the possibility of Supreme Court support not only from a Donald Trump justice, but also including possible legal precedent. Korematsu v. United States set a precedent that the Court has never overturned. One key phrase by Justice Hugo Black sets a dark tone. The following quote is from the Atlantic.
“‘Compulsory exclusion of large groups of citizens from their homes, except under circumstances of direst emergency and peril, is inconsistent with our basic governmental institutions,’ he wrote in his opinion for the Court. ‘But when, under conditions of modern warfare, our shores are threatened by hostile forces, the power to protect must be commensurate with the threatened danger.'”
Should the darker side of Trump’s presidency surface, it is possible, if unlikely, the past that harmed George Takei could repeat itself. One of the key triggers for such an action to occur would be another major terrorist attack, something that resonates like Pearl Harbor or the Trade Towers. The fear spawned by such an event could easily precipitate the crisis George Takei fears.
So what do you think of the possibility of a National Muslim Database? Is this a violation of basic human rights? Is it necessary to protect Americans first and foremost above all others? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images for WE]