Letter: Randy Ihara, South Riding

Editor: President Trump and his administration richly deserve the domestic and global condemnation of the moral catastrophe and trauma they have visited on thousands of migrant families and the decision to forcibly remove from their mothers’ arms, the more than two thousand children solely as a “deterrent” to families seeking asylum in the United States from the murderous threats and violence of gangs at home.

The response by the president to the eruption of outrage is consistent with his usual infantile denial of responsibility for the cruelty inflicted on children as young as 14 months. The U.S. attorney general, who announced the “zero tolerance” policy more than six weeks ago, laid the blame on the parents who are fleeing. According to him, if the parents are going to flee for their lives, they could avoid the loss of the children by leaving them behind. It is a shocking display by the nation’s chief lawyer of a level of morally bankrupt reasoning that leaves one in awe of the depth of its sheer venality. Even his church elders have now condemned him, in effect, for moral turpitude.

We now learn that the administration has no known plan for re-uniting parents with their children, who are scattered across the country. It is reported that they have not kept records of their locations, so re-uniting them will be impossible. Some parents may have already been deported without their children—in our name, these children are condemned to the status of orphans. More than one administration official has given this repellant act Biblical sanction.

Under the thrall of Trump and the moral cowards of his Republican Party, the response has largely been to occasionally mouth inane statements praising his courage for trying to fix our broken immigration system. The display of such vicious unabashed nativism challenges our national identity: Is this who we are?

Unfortunately, there’s no comfort in history. Historian David Barton documents the results of the 1920 state elections, when voters choose governors who were members of the Ku Klux Klan. In consecutive elections between 1916 and 1924, Americans elected three presidents holding KKK memberships.

In 1942, my family and more than 120,000 residents on the West Coast, more than 60 percent of whom were American citizens, were rounded up like criminals, moved into temporary holding areas, often in horse stalls at race tracks, then shipped off to hastily-constructed “internment” camps in isolated locations, such as deserts in the Southwest. These euphemistically dubbed “camps” were surrounded by high fences, barbed wire, guarded by armed soldiers, and surrounded by machine gun towers with the guns pointed inward. In truth, they were concentration camps, and the people there were not “internees.” They were prisoners of their own country, the United States of America. Without the benefit of judicial hearings, their constitutional rights, their property was confiscated, and their Constitutional rights stripped away by a military order signed by the President—without “due process of law”—for one reason: They were of Japanese ancestry.

Unambiguous evil is being perpetrated in our name—on children—by an administration that denies any legal, or moral responsibility, that begs the question: Who we are as Americans? Long ago the judgment was made that guilt attaches to acquiescence in the face of evil, by which we, in the absence of resistance, affirm our complicity in this burgeoning crime against humanity. Or, we can shoulder the responsibilities of citizenship and embrace the core values enshrined in our founding documents—equality, justice and liberty. The streets often serve as appropriate venues for such public expressions of public condemnation.

Randy Ihara, South Riding

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