Will History Repeat Itself?
President Trump’s travel and immigration ban for the citizens of Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Libya, though controversial, is certainly not unique. Many past presidents have issued similar bans, including Bush, Obama, Carter and Reagan. Trump’s biggest mistake in using the 65 year-old provision of the Federal Immigration and Nationality act to authorize the ban, was his bad timing. In all the previous bans, the presidents justified their actions because a crime had recently been committed against the U.S., as in the case of the 1979 kidnapping of U.S. embassy employees in Iran. Had Trump waited for another terrorist attack on U.S. soil before issuing the ban, few in our country would have questioned his motives.
My newest novel, NISEI (nee-say) is the story of Hideo (Bobby) Takahashi, a Hawaiian-born Japanese-American who, after Pearl Harbor, must overcome prejudice, internment, and the policies of his own government to prove his loyalty to his country and then go on to fight with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the most highly decorated regiment in WWII.
While researching the book, I came upon a copy of the Immigration Act signed by President Calvin Coolidge in 1924, which essentially banned all travel and immigration of Asians to the U.S. At the time, the country had been brought to a frenzied state of paranoia by the media and politicians who had convinced U.S. citizens that any more Asian immigration would cause a loss of jobs and bring about a threat to their safety.
As I continued my research, I observed this jingoistic attitude carried on into 1942 when all Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans were classified as enemies of the U.S. and were interned in concentration camps after President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. To be fair to Roosevelt, there was a legitimate threat of an attack on the west coast of the U.S. from the Japanese Imperial Navy at the time, and so, by incarcerating all Japanese descendants in the U.S., he eliminated any threat of spies aiding the invasion. Still, try explaining that to a Nisei like my protagonist Bobby Takahashi who was born on U.S. soil.
Is it possible that the same type of prejudice and incarceration suffered upon the Japanese-Americans during WWII could also be impressed upon Muslims in the years to come? Anything is possible, of course. It’s hard to say how our country would react to something as horrific as a nuclear or biological attack from foreign radical extremists, but the comparison of the prejudice of the Japanese-Americans of past decades and the Muslims of today is palpable and amazingly similar.
If we don’t want history to repeat itself, we need to stay diligent and strive to defend our republic from those who would allow fascism to prevail over democracy.
· First Place in the Columbus Creative Cooperative Great American Novel competition. (Ohio)
· Second Place in the Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Awards. (Florida)
· Second Place in the Southwest Writers 31st Annual Novel Competition. (New Mexico)
Local award winning author brings history to life on the pages of Nisei, a passionate tale of life after a pearl Harbor for a Japanese American man.
|I will be discussing my book,|
NISEI in the Jane Von Thron room
at the Cocoa Beach Library,
Wednesday, July, 20 at 6 pm.
A native of Vermont, J. J. was dragged kicking and screaming to Central Florida by his parents when his father relocated to work at the Kennedy Space Center. J. J. was a precocious and adorable little boy who overflowed with the creative juices that would prepare him for success as a noted author. Unfortunately that was stifled at a young age by an overwhelming desire to take things apart to see how they work. Thus, the left side of the brain won the battle over the right and he became an engineer. He graduated from The University of Central Florida with a B.S. in Engineering and has worked primarily in the electric and electronic engineering field for most of his career. While this was going on he married the lovely Pamela and they raised two daughters who grew into wonderful young ladies.
A while back, as luck would have it, he ruptured the L5 disk in his back playing tennis as if he were eighteen–years–old, again. With nothing to do but lie on his stomach for days on end, the right side of his brain saw an opening, and pounced on the left brain and thus the creative juices once again surfaced.
Since that time he has penned seven novels and over two hundred short stories. He has had articles and stories published in several anthologies and magazines including, Wordsmith, The Homestead Review, The Seven Hills Review and The Grey Sparrow Journal. His story, The Nine Hole League, was recently published in the Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Volume 13. He has won awards and honors from the Alabama Writers Conclave, Writers-Editors International, Maryland Writers Association, The Royal Palm Literary Awards, Professional Writers of Prescott, and Writer’s Digest.
He was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize for his short piece Tour Bus, published in The Grey Sparrow Journal. His novel, Prodigious Savant was published by Black Opal Books in October, 2014, and followed by Deviant Acts in 2015. He enjoys writing, surfing, golf and tennis and lives in Merritt Island, Florida with his understanding wife, editor, and typist, Pamela. http://jjwhitebooks.com/
As usual, pics, etc., were selected by me to complement the article.