Editorial: We can’t repeat discrimination mistakes in U.S.

Editorial: We can’t repeat discrimination mistakes in U.S.
December 10
00:00 2015
President Barack Obama speaks from the Oval Office on Sunday about terrorism.

In light of the recent mass shootings in Paris and San Bernardino, California, President Obama addressed the nation on Sunday, Dec. 6, about keeping the American people safe. He outlined four ways the U.S. government is working to protect Americans.

He also spoke about some things that shouldn’t be done, including this: There should be no discrimination against Muslims or any group of people.

“Here’s what else we cannot do. We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. That, too, is what groups like ISIS want.”

It was striking that the president spoke one day before the 74th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack by Japan. The attack propelled the United States into World War II. It also led government officials to persuade President Franklin D. Roosevelt to authorize internment camps for Japanese-American citizens. People who had productive lives in the United States were suddenly treated as enemies of the state because of their heritage. Families lost at least four years of their lives because of this mistake and the United States lost the contributions they were making in society. Decades later, President Ronald Reagan authorized paying millions of dollars to the families of those who were affected by President Roosevelt’s move.

Before that, a whole race of people was made slaves just because of their heritage. Proud, productive people from Africa were stripped of the lives they knew and brought to America to work for private citizens who wanted to make money. The U.S. government sanctioned the move. The United States has a history of treading over people for its own gain.

We must not repeat the discrimination mistakes of the past.

President Obama said: “It is the responsibility of all Americans — of every faith — to reject discrimination. It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose. That kind of divisiveness, that betrayal of our values plays into the hands of groups like ISIL. Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes — and, yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country. We have to remember that.”

In the 1950s, during the Cold War, many Americans were falsely accused of being Communists, in essence called traitors. One U.S. senator led the charge. Joseph McCarthy kept at it until his tactics and inability to substantiate his claims led the U.S. Senate to censure him.

Today, GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is taking up the demagogue mantel, saying the United States should stop all Muslims from entering the country until U.S. government officials determine where the hatred of the United Stated is coming from. He earlier talked about interning Muslims in the United States.

We must not repeat the discrimination mistakes of the past.

People from all races practice Islam. How do you determine who is a Muslim? Not all Muslims come from the Middle East, and there is no guarantee that terrorists will be prevented from entering the United States under any procedure to prevent them from doing so.

President Obama said it best:

“Let’s not forget that freedom is more powerful than fear; that we have always met challenges — whether war or depression, natural disasters or terrorist attacks — by coming together around our common ideals as one nation, as one people. So long as we stay true to that tradition, I have no doubt America will prevail.”


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