Being Nowhere
Circus Tradition
Class Politics
Enormous Loss
Haditha Tragedy
Homeless Being
Illegal Camping Ordinance
Journalism Priviledge
Keep Us Safe
Leadership and the People

Lesser Evils
Lynching Iraq
News for Working People
Nice Cops
Palestinian Democracy
Poison Fish
Political Communication
Selective Memory
Vestigial Entrances

Selective Memory

Cal Thomas writes in your 9.11.07 that we remember certain events to hopefully forestall their recurrence. To be sure, but unfortunately memory in America is selective and can have an edge to it.

The Emancipation Proclamation, for example, might be remembered as the moment a young democracy forever put behind it the blight of human slavery. But today it is commonly regarded as a small event of interest largely to African - Americans.

And while we must certainly wish to avoid another atomic holocaust, the death of a quarter million Japanese lives more in their memory than ours. For us the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is fraught with potential for recrimination and doubt about the wisdom of our actions in 1945, something very strong political groups are determined to avoid.



In the early years of World War II our government confiscated the property and freedom of 140 thousand Americans for security reasons. Outside of the Japanse-American community the event has almost no place in our collective memory. The exercise of “robust’ executive power manifested in this relocation of Americans of Japanese ancestry has been used in the last few years to justify extraordinary exercises of executive power for reasons of security. And thus, as Cal Thomas suggested, the failure to remember has put us in danger again.













©Al Katz • Prof. of law SUNY, Buffalo, 1969-1989 (ret.)