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By Walter Davis

May 31, 2010 (San Diego) -- Heidi looks over the green grass at the United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota. She remembers how her parents were shipped here with her from California and put into an internment camp with other German American citizens. Italian Americans and Japanese Americans were held as well. German American citizens who played German music during World War II could be turned in by their neighbors, arrested and shipped away from their families to internment camps. They could be charged with being dangerous aliens. Some have never been seen again.

Arab Americans and Latin Americans are facing this same kind of injustice today.


Violence against Arab Americans has increased by 1600% since September 11, 2001. The recent events in Arizona portray another tidal wave of discrimination aimed at another group of American citizens. Fear, again, is the driving emotion.

With our education system a shadow of what it once was, we continue to invest money into war instead of our people. Most Americans do not even know that German American citizens were put into concentration camps during World War II in the farm belt and in places like Crystal City, Texas. Due to the misinformation of the mass media outlets and the poor education system, Americans do not have a true picture of their history. When fear is added to this mixture, too much intellectual thought goes out of the window.

Forgotten are the lessons learned by the ignorant conservative policies of George W. Bush that crippled our economy, education, military, and financial systems. Forgotten are the lessons learned by the failing of the mean-spirited trickle down economic theories of Ronald Reagan that led to poverty and inflation.

Forgotten is the price to pay when a regime like the Israeli government is allowed to murder innocent civilians unchecked with American backing.

Forgotten are the German Jews arrested by American government kangaroo courts and returned to Nazi Germany. Guantanamo illustrates to us that it is once again okay for the American government to detain human beings without charges.

The conservative political machine is ramped up with its messages of fear. The Tea Party and other misguided conservatives are whipping themselves up into a frenzy.

What the conservatives know is that fear causes us to forget lessons learned. No matter how tough the lesson learned, it is forgotten by slogans like “We must take our country back.” Take it back from whom? Certainly not the corporations that really run it.

In Bismarck at the college, formerly Ft. Lincoln, a concentration camp for American citizens arrested without charges in the 1940’s, Heidi looks over the green grass and realizes another storm of injustice is on our door steps. A large segment of the population believes it is permissible to take Americans freedom away, to assuage fear.

Walter Davis is a syndicated columnist and producer of five public access cable TV shows on COX Communications. His stories and shows focus on positive achievements of citizens in the community, highlighting leaders who are often overlooked by mainstream media. He has pioneered use of Internet TV in media applications including webcasting and web-conferencing, helping ordinary people get attention for their efforts and causes with his Citizens’ Internet TV Network. In addition, he founded the San Diego County Community Coalition, a progressive group that stands for human rights and social justice http://www.meetup.com/sdcommunitycoalition. Walter Davis is based in San Marcos and operates studios in Carlsbad and El Cajon. http://www.WalterDavisEnterprises.com.

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. If you wish to submit an editorial for consideration, contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

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