“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face,
—George Orwell, (1903-1950), 1984
“’We were making the future,’ he said, ‘and hardly any of us troubled to think what future we were making. And here it is!’”
—H.G. Wells (1866-1946), When the Sleeper Wakes
“I guess all this history is just a mystery to me.”
—Wilco, “Hotel Arizona”
It has long been said that the United States is a nation of immigrants, a melting pot of various cultures from all over the world. Many of the same people who say that are also familiar with the so-called “golden rule”, the notion that we should treat others as we fish to be treated. It’s very telling, then, how America tends to treat its immigrants, or rather, the Americans of tomorrow. Our immigrants, ourselves.
Though most growing up in the States following the Second World War remained blissfully unaware, thanks to the American government and the then-current education system, of the German, Japanese and Italian interment camps that existed on American soil during the War, many eventually wizened up and learned of it. “It can’t happen here”, they used to say. “It can never happen here. Not again.”
Well, as most people who have uttered that rallying cry against fascism, when “it” happens again, when it comes knocking on our door and takes our neighbors into a darkly-lit, packed detention center, what do we do?