Conscience and the Constitution

Heart Mountain Sentinel
March 18, 1944



Since the announcement of reinstitution of selective service for nisei, Heart Mountain as has other centers, been infected by a new type of provocateur, who, lacking both moral and physical courage is doing, his utmost to discredit honest and straightforward persons of Japanese ancestry.

These Janus-faced individuals are using the same tactics that have been employed on other occasions. While their bulletins profess loyalty and plead good citizenship, they proceed rat-like with stealthy approach to intimidate and even threaten with bodily harm those who oppose them.

During this last week, in the hidden recesses of! boiler rooms and latrines, behind closed doors and under the protection of darkness, leaders of the Fair Play Committee have fired with fanatical zeal the weaker members and departed far from their mimeographed statements which are purposely "toned-down" for public consumption.

It might be well to point out now that neither the community council, members of which have been threatened, nor the War Relocation Authority is the target at which the group is aiming, as certain slow-witted and warped-minded members obviously seem to believe.

Neither the governing body of Heart Mountain, which has honestly attempted to steer an intelligent course, nor the WRA has anything to do with selective service. Selective service is the function of a separate agency set up for the precise object of drawing men from all walks of life to serve in the United States army.

Since a large portion of the so-called Fair Play Committee members are known, the eyes of the community will be upon those who are reported in their own bulletin to have agreed to the statement: "We members of the Fair Play Committee hereby refuse to go to the physical examination or to the induction if or when we are called in order to contest the issue."

Regardless of the rhetoric or wild-eyed statements of its leaders, we believe there will be few members of the Fair Play Committee who will be foolhardy enough to follow up their statements.

The entire community of Heart Mountain will be watching.

Enforcement of the selective service act is the job of the U.S. district attorney and there is little doubt in our minds but that office will follow through.

We do riot deny that many men on the outside have attempted to evade the draft for one reason or another. But they are not looked upon with any kindness or consideration by either their fellowmen nor by the government.

The burden of proof does not lie with the government or any agency but with the nisei themselves.

We know by past experiences that we never were accepted too readily even in our own communities or states. How we will be accepted after the war has much to do with our behavior now. Certainly those who would impede the established procedures of the war effort are working a hardship on every person of Japanese ancestry.

The United States army does not need anyone of Japanese ancestry so much that separate action would be taken in their behalf. The army, however, is giving loyal nisei the opportunity to prove that they are men among men and not whimpering weaklings who are afraid to prove themselves, and who are calling to an unanswering, unconcerned source for rights and privileges they have never before sought so fervently.

Instead of the government or any agency being concerned with the carpings of a small, vicious group, it is time the group falls into line.


Updated: August 16, 2000