TOKYO -- President Obama suggested that there should be an interpretation of the Constitution that reconciles Congress' need for a broad power over immigration and naturalization and the risks associated with judicial intervention in the exercise of that power with the need to prevent blatantly discriminatory laws that are a public humiliation to those they discriminate against. Without that interpretation, the United States may repeat policies that many regard as a blight on its history.
Adams went into Manzanar with a goal. "He wanted to show these people as citizens -- people who were making a community out of what was a terrible injustice," said Linde Lehtinen, assistant curator at the Skirball Cultural Center. Adams' Manzanar photos were published in a book, "Born Free and Equal," in 1944. Reception to the book was mixed, to the say the least. There are accounts of so-called patriots burning the book and calling Adams "un-American" because he was sympathetic to Japanese-Americans, said Lehtinen.
I was born behind barbed wire 70 years ago in a maximum-security prison camp for Japanese-Americans in Northern California. My visit with mothers and children at the euphemistically named Karnes County "Residential Center" a few weeks ago triggered distressing associations of my own experience as a child. We too lived in a constant state of fear and anxiety, never knowing what our fate would be.
As a country, we have continued to lose standing throughout the world as a legitimate voice for human rights, as a responsible member of a community of nations, as an arbiter of peace, or as a party protective of the planet. We have seen our standing reduced from a beacon of freedom to a beacon of financial self-interest.