George Takei Has a Message for Donald Trump

November 19th 2016

Willie Burnley Jr.

After Trump surrogates signaled that the new president-elect would propose registering Muslims in a database, with one of them saying that Japanese internment provided the legal basis, former “Star Trek” star George Takei is speaking out and sharing his experience as a young child in an internment camp.

“It’s vitally important for a democracy to learn from those chapters where we failed,” Takei told to the Los Angeles Times. The terror inflicted on his family from the U.S. government forcing it from its home and into camps during World War II “is seared into my memory,” Takei said.

The actor has long been as a leading voice for civil rights in the Asian-American and gay communities. And he's remaining vigilant in the age of Trump.

In an essay for The Washington Post, Takei pointed out that “Trump actually went on the record with Time magazine stating that he did not know whether he would have supported or opposed the internment.”

He said further:

“Let us all be clear: “National security” must never again be permitted to justify wholesale denial of constitutional rights and protections. If it is freedom and our way of life that we fight for, our first obligation is to ensure that our own government adheres to those principles. Without that, we are no better than our enemies.

Let us also agree that ethnic or religious discrimination cannot be justified by calls for greater security. During World War II, the government argued that military authorities could not distinguish between alleged enemy elements and peaceful, patriotic Japanese Americans. It concluded, therefore, that all those of Japanese descent, including American citizens, should be presumed guilty and held without charge, trial or legal recourse, in many cases for years. The very same arguments echo today, on the assumption that a handful of presumed radical elements within the Muslim community necessitates draconian measures against the whole, all in the name of national security.”

Rhetoric against Muslims during this election has been seen as pushing Asian-Americans closer to the Democratic Party and mobilizing Muslim activists and their allies against the president-elect’s policies.

Civil rights organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, have vowed to fight the Republican leader tooth-and-nail if he pushes forward with divisive policies.