George Takei horrified by Muslim registry proposal
George Takei has written a stirring essay for The Washington Post linking president-elect Donald Trump's proposed Muslim registry to the treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War Two.
As a child, the Star Trek icon spent time in a U.S. internment camp, and he fears America is about to repeat a very dark time in the nation's history if Muslim citizens are to be singled out for special attention under the country's 45th president.
In his powerful essay the 79-year-old actor and writer recalls he was just five when he and his family "were forced at gunpoint from our home and sent first to live in a horse stable at a local race track".
He added, "After several weeks, they sent us much farther away, 1,000 miles to the east by rail car, the blinds of our train cars pulled for our own protection, they said. We disembarked in the fetid swamps of Arkansas at the Rohwer Relocation Center. Really, it was a prison: Armed guards looked down upon us from sentry towers; their guns pointed inward at us; searchlights lit pathways at night. We understood. We were not to leave."
Takei admits it was years later he realised the true injustice that he had suffered as a child, stating, "As I studied civics and government in school, I came to see the internment as an assault not only upon an entire group of Americans, but upon the Constitution itself - how its guarantees of due process and equal protection had been decimated by forces of fear and prejudice unleashed by unscrupulous politicians."
And the actor fears Trump is about to make the same mistake as Franklin D. Roosevelt, if his immigration advisers, like Carl Higbie, get their way. Higbie recently told Fox News the mass internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II was a "precedent" for the president-elect's plans to create a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries.
He said, "The president needs to protect America first and if that means having people that are not protected under our constitution have some sort of registry... until we can identify the true threat and where it’s coming from, I support it."
"(Higbie's words) reopened very old and very deep wounds," Takei explains. "Let us all be clear: National security must never again be permitted to justify wholesale denial of constitutional rights and protections.
"It begins with profiling and with registries, but as Trump and Higbie have made clear, once the safety of the country is at stake, all safeguards are off. In their world, national security justifies actions that are sometimes not right, and no one really can guarantee where it will end."
- Cover Media