Google reminds us — not because of fear-of-dangerous-outsiders doings over the weekend — but because the man was born 100 years ago today. I presume this Google doodle was in the works before the election and would have run today if Hillary Clinton had been elected and thrown open the doors to Middle Eastern refugees.
Or... wait. What would Hillary Clinton have done? Remember when Donald Trump said Hillary Clinton "would bring in 620,000 refugees in her first term, alone, with no effective way to screen or vet them"? That was on September 20th. I'm reading that quote at Politifact, which rates Trump's statement FALSE.
But Hillary Clinton didn't throw it in our face that she was going to block entry into the country and subject newcomers to extreme vetting. That's what Trump did. Hillary had the kind of nuanced position that allowed you to think — if you liked her — that she'd have a big heart toward the suffering and simultaneously protect us from terrorists or — if you didn't like her — that she had no plan and no nerve to stop the influx of masses of people, some of whom hate the American system and want to kill us.
Not enough people liked her, the system we love made Donald Trump our President, and now he is shocking the people who didn't like him by doing what he said in plain language he was going to do.
But many years ago, a President who is revered by the kind of people who like Hillary Clinton issued an Executive Order excluding all persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast.
The Democratic Party's all-time favorite President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, decided to take action against all persons of Japanese descent because "the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage."
Fred Korematsu stayed where he was, in Oakland, California, where he was born. Soon enough, he got arrested:
Shortly after Korematsu's arrest, Ernest Besig, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union in northern California, asked him whether he would be willing to use his case to test the legality of the Japanese American internment. Korematsu agreed, and was assigned civil rights attorney Wayne M. Collins. The American Civil Liberties Union in fact argued for Ernest Besig not to fight Korematsu’s case, since many high-ranking members of the ACLU were close to Franklin Roosevelt, and the ACLU didn’t want to be perceived badly in time of war. Besig decided to take Korematsu's case in spite of this....The ACLU — which is in the news today as it fights Trump's executive order — fought for Korematsu and ultimately lost in the Supreme Court. "Ultimately" is not the right word, because you could say that in later years academic and public opinion shifted strongly in his favor, and with enough distance from World War II, we looked with disgust at what FDR arrogation of power and the Supreme Court feeble response. Korematsu ultimately won. He's a hero of history, celebrated in a Google doodle on the 100th anniversary of his birth.
But that's not "ultimately" either. American history rolls on.