Sunday, October 21, 2007

"Silence betokens consent"

In 1968, Willa Michener, a Presidential Scholar, wanted to give President Johnson a piece of her mind about the Vietnam War, but ... she didn't, because a teacher told her that it was just best to remain quiet while in the presence of the president. She regretted her decision for 40 years.

Her daughter, Mari Oye, is also a Presidential Scholar, Class of 2007. When she got the chance to be in the presence of George W. Bush, she handed him her handwritten letter protesting the use of torture of detainees. Her letter was signed by over a third of the 2007 Scholars. When President Bush denied that the U.S. uses torture, Mari said, "Please remove your signing statement to the McCain anti-torture bill."

Mari also told Bush that her grandparents were detainees in a Japanese internment camp during World War II.

What an extraordinary family! The grandparents - Japanese Americans detained in a camp during the war; the mother, a Presidential Scholar during the Vietnam era; and the daughter, a Presidential Scholar during Iraqmire, each brave in their own way, each with a social conscience, each a true American.

Read the article here.