Saturday, July 23, 2005

I don't want to live in a world without melody

Sometimes I think I can write a little bit. Sometimes I even think I have something important to say.

Then I read what David Neiwert (Orcinus) writes, and I fall to my knees in shame. I am humbled.

He has this to say about the Minuteman movement:

One of the most disturbing trends we've observed this year has been the growing mainstream acceptance of the Minutemen, who represent a real incursion of right-wing extremism into the broader body politic. As we've noted, this includes endorsements of their activities both by public officials and the media.

The most recent advancement of this trend came from a top Border Patrol official (the same, it should be noted, who endorsed the Minutemen previously) saying his agency was considering giving official sanction to the Minutemen or similar groups:

The top U.S. border enforcement official said Wednesday that his agency is exploring ways to involve citizen volunteers in creating "something akin to a Border Patrol auxiliary" -- a significant shift after a high-profile civilian campaign this spring along the Arizona-Mexico border.

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert C. Bonner told The Associated Press that his agency began looking into citizen involvement after noting how eager volunteers were to stop illegal immigration.

"We value having eyes and ears of citizens, and I think that would be one of the things we are looking at is how you better organize, let's say, a citizen effort," Bonner said.

He said that could involve training of volunteers organized "in a way that would be something akin to a Border Patrol auxiliary."

Bonner characterized the idea of an auxiliary as "an area we're looking at," and a spokeswoman said it hadn't been discussed yet with top Homeland Security officials.

A day later, his superiors at the Department of Homeland Security backed away from any such proposals [via Talk Left]:

"There are currently no plans by the Department of Homeland Security to use civilian volunteers to patrol the border," spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said in a statement. "That job should continue to be done by the highly trained, professional law enforcement officials of the Border Patrol and its partner agencies."

What a shameful co-opting of the name of the radical revolutionaries that helped found this country.

He also has this to say about his book tour, discussing his recent book:

My new book, Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community, just got its highest-profile review in a paper I've harshly criticized on many occasions in the past: the (ulp!) Washington Times.

Nonetheless, Tom Carter's piece is not just a strong review, but a good read in its own right. Carter, you see, grew up in Bellevue:

Growing up in the 1950s in a suburb of Atlanta "coloreds only" and "whites only" signs on water fountains and public toilets were fairly common. It never occurred to me that white people might have similar feelings toward "Orientals" until we moved to Bellevue, Wash., a suburb of Seattle in 1962. I remember my parents bewilderment at the openly hostile neighborhood reaction when a Japanese family tried to buy a house in our Mockingbird Hill development.

Riding our bicycles on Bellevue streets, walking to school, swimming in nearby Lake Sammamish, Bellevue was a white and middle-class. We knew nothing of the history, that Bellevue was a small farming suburb hewn from the wilderness, stumps removed, fields made workable and then planted by Japanese immigrants in the early 1900s. And after Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, it was one of many West Coast cities depopulated of Japanese by government order, a forced evacuation that sent hundreds of Bellevue Japanese to internment camps -- ultimately clearing the way for white suburbia.

Be sure to read it all.

And, while I'm at it, it's worth noting that the reviews for the book at the Amazon link were invaded earlier this week by the execrable "Bob," a onetime regular commenter here who not only liked to argue (a la Michelle Malkin) that the internment of Japanese Americans was justifiable but necessary, but eventually, he developed a habit of posting personal smears about local Nikkei, which earned him a deletion and a ban. Then he went away.

Please read it all. This is blogging on a level most of us will clearly never attain. David's writing is clear, precise, and rational. It is researched and passionate. He makes points so skillfully that the prose rings like a Les Paul plugged into a small Marshall: strong, firm, yet not too loud. Forgive my sappy metaphor, but his work is really important.

David: Thank you. We are not worthy.