CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

Could a “Trigger Moment” Imperil Civil Liberties?

Surveillance, Government Secrecy, and an Unpredictable Political Landscape Raise Difficult Questions

In December 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor was the “trigger moment” that eventually led the U.S. government to herd tens of thousands of Japanese Americans into internment camps. If some explosive incident were to occur during Donald Trump’s presidency, could it provoke a similar mass round-up of Muslims, immigrants, or some other ethnic or religious group?

On Wednesday night, a standing-room-only crowd gathered to mull that possibility and other, sometimes dire scenarios, past and present, at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. The frame topic for the Zócalo/UCLA event, presented in partnership with the Japanese American National Museum, was “What Does the Japanese American Experience Tell Us About the Proposed Muslim Registry?”

And although the panel discussion touched on the many ways in which America’s social and political landscape in 2017 is …