Monday, May 11, 2015

Held

The night of the Pearl Harbor attacks my great-grandfather was removed from his home and forcibly detained for four years. He was not arrested. He was not charged with a crime, and no warrant was ever issued.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The American, Fred Korematsu, used the court system to redress his grievances and contest the executive action taken by the United States' president to detain 112,000 Americans based purely on their Japanese ancestry. Executive Order 9066 stripped these Americans of their liberty and their property without due process of law.

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

The justification that it was a time of war was sufficient cause for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the government that the rights of these Americans did not exist. In support of this argument, the US government intentionally suppressed evidence that these Americans were as any others in this country--American.

After the war, the decision of Korematsu v. United States was never overturned.

My great uncle fought in World War II and remains one of the most highly decorated soldiers of the war. My grandfather was a translator in the Military Intelligence Service and was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2013.

My family has been honored by the US government in the form of medals. Our rights, however, have never been fully established. It remains possible to withhold our rights as Americans for no reason.

Japanese Americans, in the modern era, experience the sting from an historical perspective mostly.

Currently, there are many that suffer under the strain of an American government that refuses to see their injustices as intolerable cruelties.

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

The United States government has a consistent history of suppressing the rights of humans by denying their standing under the law.

Who is a person under the law's eyes is a constantly changing factor. While Americans' rights remain untouchable truths, the people that may access them continues to vary.

"Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons."

Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution clearly states that while free persons may vote, indentured servants, three fifths of slaves, and Native Americans shall be counted for representation purposes only.

That is, the definition of person, is not determined by the immutable qualities of being human. The definition of person is defined by other people and bestowed upon other people. By the people, for the people--and only those people. Without legal standing, humans in this country are not persons.

Under the 14th Amendment, this clause was superseded. All Americans were given the right to vote.

Except, it took until the 19th Amendment, passed in 1920, to give women a voting voice as well. The expansion of the definition of citizenship also determines which groups are protected and which groups are to be protected from.

It is the mandate of the government to protect those it deems persons. Transitioning humans into persons is a constant process, and once there, the government maintains the ability to revoke that privilege.

Government bestows personhood and the rights associated with that personhood.

The servants of that government carry that mandate out.

To be a servant of government is to answer two questions every day: who does the government deem a person; who do I deem a person?

Behaving in a manner that abridges the definition of person is anti-American. The second question, therefore, must have an equal or broader definition of person than the answer to the first question.

I woke early this morning after a restless sleep.

I dreamt that the US government had declared my grandmother an enemy of the state. The US government had declared me an enemy of the state. We were pulled over by an officer and dragged out of our cars. I watched as the officer beat me against the door of his police vehicle. I managed to escape and fled into the woods. I found a permanent marker in my pocket and wrote on my arm in large capital letters "ENOUGH".