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You Know I'm Right | Commentary by Betty Arenson
| Friday, Feb 22, 2013

bettyarensonPresident Obama’s recent photo-op moment of signing 23 executive orders citing gun control – which were actually just mere proposals – has ignited the country on rights and authority.

For some background, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Proclamation 2525 (pursuant to the Alien Enemy Act of 1798) on Dec. 7, 1941, as a direct result of the devastating attack that day on Pearl Harbor.

On Feb. 19, 1942, Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, in agreement with then-U.S. Army Gen. John L. DeWitt, who believed those of Japanese descent should be forced into internment camps.

Executive Order 9066 caused people of multiple nationalities, mostly Japanese-Americans (and Koreans, since Korea was under Japan’s rule at that time), to be rounded up for internment. The mayhem included those with as little as one-sixteenth Japanese ancestry, or as one person wrote, “one drop of Japanese blood.” The apprehended had their property, real and personal, seized by the U.S. government.

A letter to a newspaper recently caught my eye when “Tom” wrote expressing his fear of executive orders, reciting facts about Executive Order 9066 and his personal memories of that time with his family. Tom wrote of his own Italian heritage and of the far-reaching confiscations that occurred, including personal property. Specifically, he recalled his parents’ fear of possible seizure of a cherished family radio with long and shortwave reception capabilities, treasured by his mom. In response, another writer, “Jim,” rebutted with a plentitude of incorrect information.

In part, Jim wrote: “Italians and Germans were not affected by Executive Order 9066.” The affected Japanese, he said, “were limited to those in the Western United Sates – not Hawaii,” and “all who were impacted by 9066 were indemnified by the U.S. government with payments of $20,000 each, along with abject apologies.” Last but not least, he assured Tom that the family’s “beautiful radio” is safe.

It may so be today, but it wasn’t then.

Sources including Wikipedia, Personal Justice Denied and History Matters (George Mason University) give a plethora of information on Executive Order 9066. Restrictions, including internment, targeted those of Italian, German and Jewish ancestries, as well. A total of 3,200 Italians and 11,000 Germans were arrested, and more than 300 Italians and 5,000 Germans were interned. And yes, there were sweeps in Hawaii.

Also, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI made an “enemy aliens” list of people to be evicted from 15 Latin American countries and sent to the United States. “Enemy aliens” had to register at post offices, be fingerprinted and carry their “photo-bearing enemy alien registration cards at all times.”

The aforementioned statement about indemnification-with-apologies appears with the tone of all-is-well and move on. That puny token of redress merely posed as an attempt at atonement to a group of Americans incarcerated based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” That was the finding of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians under Jimmy Carter after Gerald Ford finally rescinded Executive Order 9066 in 1976. Payments were made in the 1990s after George H.W. Bush signed the pertinent appropriations bill, and the “bill only applied to the Japanese Americans.”

Most poignant is Jim’s offered quote of the Constitution, saying the president can “take care that the laws are faithfully executed.” My copies of the Constitution say the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Clearly the president shall effectuate existing laws, not make new ones. What existing law did FDR execute? His actions cannot even circuitously relate to the Enemy Alien Act of 1798.

In reference to the first sentence of the commentary, the same “uphold” responsibility exists for the Obama crowd trying to encroach on the Second Amendment’s assurance that the “right of people to bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Yes. There is reason to be concerned.

 

Betty Arenson has lived in the SCV since 1968 and describes herself as a conservative who’s concerned about progressives’ politics and their impacts on the country, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She says she is unashamed to own a gun or a Bible, couldn’t care less about the color of the president’s skin, and demands that he uphold his oath to protect and follow the Constitution of the United States in its entirety. Her commentary publishes Fridays.

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Todd I says:

    Yes, you are right.

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