I found this portion of the 1986 Japanese America Redress implementation and HR 442 provided me with a greater context of what we have discussed in class by allowing me to hear and see the opinions of members of the senate and congress on this proposed motion. The most significant statements in my opinion came from Representative Mineta, Matsui, and Matsunaga in favor of this bill and Starraton’s opposition to the others. Starting with Representative Mineta who explains that this motion is necessary because through Japanese internment the US federal government in a way gave the racial bias and prejudice the federal seal of approval during WWII. stating that “the burden has fallen on us to right the wrongs committed 44 years ago” Mineta tries to compel his fellow government representatives to support this motion. Following Mineta, Representative Matsui spoke on his advocation for the enactment of the Japanese American Redress movement and the HR 442 bill. Mineta and Matsui spoke on their experience in internment as they were 10 years and 10 months old, respectfully, and I noted the emotional experience of recounting these awful experiences. Representative Matsui struggled to complete his sentences once he began to speak on his and his family’s personal experiences during the war. Mineta notes that the experiences mentioned by them in this hearing are not rare cases to display extreme experiences but instead the common experiences shared by many Japanese Americans that faced internment during WWII.
I think that the most disheartening statement was made by Representative Stratton who expressed his hesitation and opposition to this movement stating that it has been “too long” since the Second World War and these experiences that now this apology and compensation was in a way ‘too little, too late’ after all this time. I found this shocking considering before he spoke two other representatives pokemon their own experiences as Japanese Americans in these internment camps, so how can he say that these people have moved on while sitting next to two victims who are asking for the approval of this motion. I also found it interesting when he said that the American people were taking defensive action because they were ‘traumatized’ by the events at Pearl Harbor. While these events were awful and traumatizing in this statement he is dismissing the trauma faced by Japanese American’s in the internment camps while calling on nationalism for an event that in his own words took place ‘too long’ ago. Representative Matsenaya responded to the claims made by Stratton who he referred to as his “good friend but misguided Congressman” who reminded everyone present of the number of individuals in the room that could speak on their experiences of internment. Refuting basically everything that Stratton said it seemed as though Matsenaya managed to redeem the motion from the incorrect claims of Stratton. I found that the most significant quote that stuck out to me was from Representative Mineta who stated that “Times change and wisdom prevails in the end” in support of these motions to right the American wrong of Internment. I think that this quote needs to be remembered and reminded to officials today and throughout the future and in history.
I like your analysis of Stratton’s speech. I also found it shocking and off-putting that he would be so vocally dismissive of the Japanese American interned experience, claiming that it was a necessary action given the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the information they had at the time, and diminishing their trauma and disruption of life by claiming that the lives of all Americans were disrupted due to the war. I feel that he failed to recognize the cruelty of it and how it infringed on human rights and freedoms that America claims to hold so dear. War time fear should not be an excuse for violating human rights.
I found representative Matsui’s testimony very heartbreaking, seeing how he is so emotionally affected by these events bring to light how traumatic these events were. Matsui, Mineta, and Matsunaga’s testimonies highlighted how important it is to rectify these actions against the Japanese-American community, and it was important to hear similar sentiments shared by people who were not of this community. I like how you analyze some of the opposing viewpoints and it does bother me that these arguments are used in front of people who have been negatively affected by these events. Seeing Stratton justify internment on the basis of fear of war completely sidesteps the responsibility the government has in rectifying mistakes that overstep personal freedoms. I was also bothered by the argument that wartime entails sacrifice and this was the Japanese-Americans’ sacrifice when being a soldier and being interned are two very different things and internment was most certainly not just a ‘sacrifice’.