Daily Archives: January 30, 2017

Korematsu Google Doodle


I don’t normally give more than just a passing glance to the Google Doodle of the Day. Sometimes they are fun, sometimes they are commemorative, but usually I have a web destination in mind when I open the browser and do not allow myself the distraction. Today, however, I paused.

I’ll be the first person to admit that I am largely ignorant of the news. I don’t watch news programs, don’t listen to the news on the radio, and do not read a newspaper (physical or electronic). And lately, tensions have been running high as the executive leadership of the country has changed hands, so I have been avoiding political posts on social media.

But if a topic is very large and pervasive, you cannot help but here about it here and there. I’m sure if I try to speak about what happened this weekend, my account will be largely fraught with errors, so I’ll just give my impression: President Trump put something into effect which is restricting the movement (I believe via air travel) of a certain segment of the population.

Which is why the Google Doodle grabbed my attention.

It looked both patriotic, as well as reminiscent of internment camps, so I poked around Wikipedia and read about the case of Korematsu v. United States. In this particular instance, the Supreme Court upheld that the government acted appropriately and in the best interests of national security. Later, they found that the Supreme Court may not have had all the appropriate information to make their decision, but the case was never overturned.

Today happens to be the 98th anniversary of Fred Korematsu’s birth, but it is very interesting to have this juxtaposed with the events of the weekend.

In reading the Wikipedia article, one of the decisions of a dissenting judge caught my attention. Justice Frank Murphy wrote,

I dissent, therefore, from this legalization of racism. Racial discrimination in any form and in any degree has no justifiable part whatever in our democratic way of life. It is unattractive in any setting, but it is utterly revolting among a free people who have embraced the principles set forth in the Constitution of the United States. All residents of this nation are kin in some way by blood or culture to a foreign land. Yet they are primarily and necessarily a part of the new and distinct civilization of the United States. They must, accordingly, be treated at all times as the heirs of the American experiment, and as entitled to all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

As a country, there have been times where we have embraced the world and been a refuge for all nations, and times where we have been xenophobic and restricted our borders. I do not have the answer to the immigration issue or any of the related struggles. I just hope that as a people and as a country, we have compassion and love in our hearts as we make decisions. We are heirs of the American experiment. Only time will tell how our experiment turned out. May God guide us and protect us.