Seventy years ago, US soldiers bearing bayoneted rifles came marching up to the front door of our family's home in Los Angeles, ordering us out. Our crime was looking like the people who had bombed Pearl Harbor a few months before. I'll never forget that day, nor the tears streaming down my mother's face as we were forcibly removed, herded off like animals, to a nearby race track. There, for weeks, we would live in a filthy horse stable while our "permanent" relocation camp was being constructed thousands of miles away in Arkansas, in a place called Rohwer.
I recently revisited Rohwer. Gone were the sentry towers, armed guards, barbed wire and crudely constructed barracks that defined our lives for many years. The swamp had been drained, the trees chopped down. Only miles and miles of cotton fields. The only thing remaining was the cemetery with two tall monuments.
Because I was a child, I didn't understand the depth of the degradation and deprivation my parents suffered, or how courageous and foresighted my mother had been to smuggle a sewing machine into camp, which permitted her to make modest curtains for our bare quarters. I didn't grasp what a blow the ordeal was to my father's role as provider, as he struggled to keep our family together. The family ate, bathed and did chores along with a whole community, pressed together in the confines of a makeshift camp, in the oppressive heat and mosquito-infested swamps of Arkansas.
Later my family would be shipped to a high-security camp in Tule Lake, California, constructed in a desolate, dry lake bed in the north of the state. Three layers of barbed-wire fences now confined us. Out of principle, my parents had refused to answer yes to a "loyalty" questionnaire the government had promulgated. It had asked whether they would serve in the US army and go wherever ordered, and whether they would swear allegiance to the US government and "forswear" loyalty to the Japanese emperor – as if any had ever sworn such loyalty in the first instance.
Read the whole column. It's important and I would argue it's comparable to the round-up of Muslim-Americans after 9-11.
Now yesterday I wrote "Dan Savage needs to apologize" and, goodness, did I get some hate mail.
Someone signed "CC" wants me to know that Dan Savage "is a great activist. He's also a proud gay man so he doesn't need to apologize. You should apologize for attacking a minority."
CC, you wrote a Black lesbian. And told her to apologize to "a minority," a White gay man.
Do you not grasp your own stupidity?
Someone who didn't sign wanted me to know that it was okay "to s**t on the Bible because that's all they ever do to us. Screw them. We don't need them."
I don't know if the person is a political person but I'd argue we need Christians and Muslims and Jews and non-believers too and various other groupings. I'd argue that to move forward, we need as many people on board as possible.
Damnable Danny (that's how he signed it) may not the unsigned because he too thought up 'clever' uses for the Bible such as "I'd like to shove it up Pat Robertson and Billy Graham's butts. See what scripture they quoted then. Everyone knows the Bible is hogwash."
Damnable Danny, your interest in anal play with two evangelicals was truly "too much information." As for the Bible being hogwash, if you feel that way, why are you obsessed with it?
I don't believe it's hogwash. I do believe other things are. Harlequin romance novels, for example. But I don't run into your home, Damnable Danny, and insist you need to stop reading those books.
I'm going to briefly cover Dan Savage's actions one more time.
1) He went before an audience and intentionally insulted them.
2) They were kids. They didn't need his potty mouth. They were kids. He's clearly a coward because he wouldn't do that around people over the age of 21.
3) To mock those who left, he used a homophobic term.
4) His being gay doesn't give him a pass on homophobia. Nor did Perez Hilton being gay make it okay for him to call a woman the c-word.
It doesn't work that way.
I wish I had time to quote more of the e-mails, but that's all the time I have right now.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"