Star Trek icon
George Takei recently sent me — and perhaps thousands of
other people — an email on behalf of the Democratic Party,
under the subject “Japanese internment.”
The purpose of
the spam is to scare liberals into donating to the
Democrats, on the theory that President-elect Donald Trump
is planning to round up Muslims in the same way.
Takei, an affable warrior for gay rights and
same-sex marriage, was interned during World War II in one
of the camps that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s
administration established for Japanese-Americans,
ostensibly because their loyalty to the United States was in
It was one of the worst policies in American
history — worse still for having been ratified by the
Supreme Court in Korematsu
v. United States (1944).
One of Breitbart News’ former offices, in
fact, was in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Japanese
Sawtelle, where a small, decades-old Japanese community
still thrives, and where some elderly residents can still
recall their internment.
Takei’s email abuses the memory of that
experience for partisan fundraising purposes, based on a
The lie is
Takei’s claim that “Donald Trump’s transition advisors talk
about building a registry of Muslims and his surrogates
using the internment of Japanese-Americans as their model.”
The statement in question was not made by a
member of Trump’s transition team, but a spokesman for a
pro-Trump super PAC. And he did not say that the internment
of Japanese-Americans was a “model” — in fact, as even the New
York Times reported, he
said that he would not want to do it again.
Furthermore, there is no proposal to create a
“registry” of Muslims, but to reinstate a post-9/11 policy
from the George W. Bush and early Barack Obama
administrations of tracking immigrants and visitors from
certain foreign countries, including Muslim-majority
countries, where terrorism is a concern.
Takei is not alone in fanning the flames of
fear. Anti-Defamation League president Jonathan Greenblatt
recently likened the
so-called “Muslim registry” to the Nazi policies of the
Now Takei and the Democrats are using that
fear to raise political cash. A link in the email connects
to a Democratic Party website, where visitors are asked to
add their names, then donate money.
The text of the email follows (original
Just a few weeks after my fifth birthday,
in the spring of 1942, my parents got my younger
brother, my baby sister, and me up very early, hurriedly
dressed us, and quickly started to pack.
When my brother and I looked out the
window of our living room, we saw two soldiers marching
up the driveway, bayonets fixed to their rifles. They
banged on our front door and ordered us out of the
house. We could take only what we could carry with us.
We were loaded on to train cars with
other Japanese-American families, with guards stationed
at both ends of each car as though we were criminals,
and sent two-thirds of the way across the country to an
internment camp in the swamps of Arkansas.
For nearly three years, barbed wire,
sentry towers, and armed guards marked home. Mass
showers, lousy meals in crowded mess halls, and a
searchlight following me as I ran from our barracks to
the latrine in the middle of the night — in case I was
trying to escape — became normal.
So when I hear Donald Trump’s transition
advisors talk about building a registry of Muslims and
his surrogates using the internment of
Japanese-Americans as their model, I am outraged —
because I remember the tears streaming down my mother’s
face as we were torn away from our home. And
I am resolved to raise my voice and say, loudly and
clearly, that this is not who we are.
My mother was born in Sacramento, my
father grew up in San Francisco, and my siblings and I
were born in Los Angeles. We were American citizens, as
proud of our country as we were of our Japanese
heritage. But in the fear and mass hysteria of wartime,
none of that mattered. When our government allowed
hatred and racism to overtake our values, nothing else
We cannot allow our country to be led
down that dark path ever again.
Joel, I am committed to fighting for our
values, our democracy, and the moral character of our
nation. And I am committed to standing with the
Democratic Party against bigotry and oppression for the
next four years and beyond, no matter what form it
takes. I hope you will do the same. Add your name today
to stand with me:
George Takei — stop scaring people. Nobody is
creating a Muslim registry. Nobody is planning concentration
camps — except perhaps the left-wing students demanding that
their colleges and universities be turned into “sanctuary
Americans are divided enough without having
to fear a new Holocaust. To raise money off that fear is
worse than low.