Last week, Mike Courson reported in The Ellinwood Leader that Ellinwood students can look forward to hearing from speaker Marion Blumenthal Lazan next fall when she visits Ellinwood. She will talk about her family’s experience at Bergen Belsen, a Nazi concentration camp. Blumenthal’s book, “Four Perfect Pebbles,” is required reading in Connie Mitchum’s English classes at Ellinwood Middle/High School.
The importance of this opportunity scheduled just under two months before the 2016 election was underscored Tuesday morning.
That’s when several major news networks reported Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had called for a ban on all Muslims entering the country following the latest gun massacre in San Bernadino, Calif. This, in a press release issued and later read Monday on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day at the USS Yorktown in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
Comparisons of Trump’s ideas to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s order to move all Japanese-Americans to resettlement camps following the bombing of Pearl Harbor were made by the media immediately following. This, it should be noted, was something Trump said he was not suggesting later Monday. But, by Tuesday morning, even Trump was making these comparisons when he called in to MSNBC’s program “Morning Joe.” He revered Roosevelt for his quick action, but stopped short himself of declaring whether he felt the camps were morally right.
Religious groups were shocked and outraged at the idea of basing immigration on religion, pointing out it is the exact polar opposite of the ideals the country has held even since before its founding. News outlets joined in with comparisons even to Adolf Hitler, like the Philadelphia Daily News “The New Furor” headline.
Still, a look at Trump’s various facebook pages, and the applause he received following his statement Monday indicate there are many who respect his views. One has to wonder, what someone like Marion Blumenthal Lazan would say to Trump if she were given the opportunity.
Trump said the ban should last until elected officials can figure out what is going on. For the past seven years, Congress’ track record hasn’t been great. And for the past few days, Trump’s has been increasingly radical.
There are fewer WWII veterans and concentration camp survivors each day, but their stories and their opinions on the direction they hope our country will go is more vital now than ever before. It is our hope that readers take the time to seek out and listen to those stories with a clear and open mind before making decisions in the voting booth that could have devastating consequences later.
— Veronica Coons