The Heavy Fog of Fear

A few days ago, the intensity of my drive to outwardly disagree with Trump’s hasty actions and foolhardy words went into overdrive when I heard about the Executive Order to ban immigrants.

But, it’s not wise to share opinions on social media while in high gear emotionally, so, with friends and family in town on Saturday night, I looked forward to the opportunity to let go for awhile. Over wine and cheese, we avoided all talk of politics and instead talked about kids, grandkids, weddings and childhood memories. Following a delicious Indian dinner cooked by my sisters, Kim and Cyndie, we sat down to look at a box of pictures Cyndie recently found in my mother’s garage.

Among the treasure chest of pictures–mostly of my mother’s youth–were several pictures I’d never seen before. When I came upon two of them, the 800 lb gorilla (named Donald Trump) burst free from the cage I’d placed him in earlier.

fullsizerender-80This is a photograph of my mother’s high school class. I’m not sure which year, but it looks like it may have been her freshman year, which would have made it 1949–five years after the end of World War II. During that war, she spent four years behind barbed at Tule Lake and Topaz internment camps.

Why? Because she–like approximately 120,000 other Japanese (2/3 of whom were American citizens)–looked like the enemy.

img_0757Then I found this picture, a photograph of my mother with her oldest brother, Yoshio, who served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American warfare.

He served while his family was interned, solely for looking like the enemy.

Here’s the Executive Order that led to the internment:


Which led to this:


Which led to internment of those perceived as possible “spies and saboteurs.”

tule-lake2 tule-lake-1


I couldn’t help but think about the earlier interview I’d seen with one of the detainees who had been held at JFK.

“…because I work with the U.S. government. I support the U.S. government from the other side of the world. But when I came here, they said ‘no,’ and they treat me as if I broke the rules or did something wrong.”

Here’s a statistic you might find interesting. Between 1975 and 2015, foreign nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen killed exactly zero Americans on U.S. soil, according to an analysis of terror attacks by the Cato Institute.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

Approximately 85% of all suspects who took steps toward terrorist-related violence inside the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks were U.S. citizens or legal residents and about half were born U.S. citizens, New America Foundation officials calculated. 

The following chart from the Wall Street Journal shows the nationalities of people who committed terrorist acts in the U.S. since 9/11:


So here are a couple of questions I have:

  1. How does this Executive Order address what appears to be our greatest security threat with regard to terrorism – home-grown terrorists?
  2. Why weren’t Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Egypt included?

To me, most disturbing of all is the indefinite suspension of the admission of all refugees into the United States. Trump stated:

I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States and thus suspend any such entry.

Detrimental? According to CNN and the Cato Institute:

No person accepted to the United States as a refugee, Syrian or otherwise, has been implicated in a terrorist attack since the Refugee Act of 1980 set up systematic procedures for accepting refugees into the United States, according to an analysis of terrorism immigration risks by the Cato Institute.

Here’s a more accurate representation of why Syrians seek refuge.

syrian-boy-1If Trump is a master of anything, it’s playing to our fears.

  • Today, we react to our fears that any Muslim might be a terrorist.
  • In 1939, 900 Jews arrived on the MS St. Louis and were denied access to the United States due to strict immigration quotas. According The Atlantic, 254 of those people died in the Holocaust.
  • In 1942, we ordered 120,000 people of Japanese descent to live in barracks behind barbed wire for four years–my mother and her family included–because, solely based on race, it was feared they would commit acts of espionage or sabotage.

We must remember our history so that we may find our conscience through the heavy fog of fear.

This entry was posted in Current Events, Family History, History, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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