This gem came from the Republican Perspective (RP), in the April 4 edition of The Flume: “China virus accurately defines the current pandemic virus. To suggest that the term is to blame for anti-Asian sentiment is akin to saying WWII was caused by anti-German sentiments over the German measles.”

If one wants to call the COVID-19 virus the China Virus because they’ve been prompted to do so by the great leader, that’s fine. Of course, the great leader also called it the Kung Flu. Politicizing the virus by tying it to ethnic biases resonates well with Trumplicans.

Some folks up here respond to even the slightest suggestion racism may temper their view of the world with knee-jerk denials. Obviously, racism is a sore point for them. Why is that?

Rubella was identified as a distinct disease in 1814 by a German scientist. That’s why it’s called German measles. Through vaccinations, rubella has virtually disappeared from the U.S.

The COVID-19 vaccination works. Sadly, with vaccination hesitancy and the presence of variants, herd immunity may be a long time coming.

Interestingly the RP mentioned WWII in an attempt to refute ethnic bias as a cause for violent acts. The silliness of the comparison to anti-Asian sentiment brought on by the ethnic characterization of COVID-19 is obvious. History repeating itself?

Germany, Italy and Japan made up the WWII Axis of power. 120,000 human beings of Japanese ancestry (at least 1/16 Japanese) were interned in the U.S. beginning in 1942; one internment camp was in southeast Colorado. Most of these internees were American citizens. Two-thirds were born and raised in the United States.

The internment camps were located in California, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Arkansas. There was a significant public outcry against putting an internment camp in some locations. Seems “real” Americans didn’t want the Japs in their backyard, many fearing the yellow-skinned, slant-eyed rabble wouldn’t leave once the war ended.

The question occurs why German-Americans and Italian-Americans were not treated as Japanese-Americans were treated. Lt. General John L. DeWitt, the head of the Western Defense Command, suggested German and Italians should also be interred. But the thought of rounding up Americans of European descent was, to say the least, not popular. Yes, there was Pearl Harbor, where the little yellow people shocked America out of its complacency, turning Charles Lindbergh’s “America First” ideology on its ear. (America First; it seems that term popped up again in the less distant past.)

The Republican Perspective on this would be as intellectually dishonest as most of their views. I suspect the first retort would be, “Yeah, the Liberals’ Saint Franklin (FDR) issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized the camps.” Yes, he did. Ethnic bias is as American as apple pie. Both sides of the aisle are not immune, though one side has, in fact, worked harder to eradicate it. The other side? Well, that side is currently on a mission to deny people of color the voting franchise. Jim Crow has been resurrected.

Why were Japanese-Americans treated differently than German- or Italian-Americans at the onset of WWII? I know why. Do you?

In 1976, President Ford issued Proclamation 4417, officially terminating the egregious XO 9066. In 1988, President Reagan issued a public apology to Japanese-Americans and authorized reparations for the camps’ survivors. Two GOP presidents doing what was right; imagine that.

The RP bemoaned their perception that “… new attacks on our liberties …” have emerged, highlighting candidate Biden’s May 2020 comment that no Amendment to the Constitution is absolute. The RP cited the right-wing Western Journal as its source. Now that’s interesting because the article cited goes on to say Biden’s comment was, “… technically true.” Indeed, it was.

You suspect interred Japanese-American citizens wondered about their rights as American citizens as they were being herded into camps?

Native Americans weren’t even considered citizens until 1924 and weren’t afforded the right to vote until 1957. But, hell, Native Americans were considered savages. They were seen as less than human beings by their European-American conquerors. These were the same European-Americans who’d declared in 1776 that all men are created equal with certain unalienable rights like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Justice Samuel Alito opined in the Heller case, “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.”

There are clear limits on the freedom of speech and assembly.

As to the border “crisis,” the RP highlighted: Yes, it’s a mess. It will remain a mess until comprehensive immigration reform legislation is passed. And, no, “Trump protocols” are not the solution.

One can love America without turning a blind eye to its darkest history. One can call Park County a paradise without ignoring Father Dyer’s admiration of John Chivington, even his justification for Chivington’s actions at Sand Creek.

We can do better.

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