Conscience and the Constitution

Letter to the Editor
Nichi Bei Times, April 30, 2002 

by Steven J. Doi

Dear Editor:

After reading the many emotionally-charged pro and con articles and letters concerning the National Japanese American Citizens Leagues' (JACL) plan to officially apologize to the resisters of conscience, I have come to the conclusion that the national board of the JACL must do the following:

The National JACL should immediately send an official JACL ballot in a return postcard form, to every dues-paying JACL member which should simply state, "I (do) (do not) favor the National JACL apologizing to the Resisters of

If sending a postcard to each member is not feasible, a ballot postcard inserted our newspaper, the Pacific Citizen, would give some indication as to the opinion and feeling of the rank and file member.

It is my belief that the average JACLer is still the "Quiet American" and tends to avoid voicing their opinion publicly on any controversial subject even though they may feel strongly on a matter. Many Japanese Americans have forgotten that country to Western culture, in Japanese culture, silence does not signify approval.

No matter which way the rank and file JACLer votes, I would feel much more comfortable after hearing from all the members. This vote would put to rest any doubt in people's minds as to the way that the National JACL should handle the matter. I feel confident that JACLers of good will would accept the decision of the majority.

Personally, I am really curious as to how the vote would tally.

I do not wish it, but I have a terrible premonition (The Titanic?) that if this matter is not handled wisely by the National JACL board, if could end the JACL as the strong, viable and cohesive organization as we knew for the past 60 or more odd years.

A concerned JACLer,
Steven J. Doi
San Francisco

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Updated: May 7, 2002