This is a great book about Ralph Carr who was the Governor of Colorado when WWII broke out. Prior to that he was the Attorney General of Colorado, Water Rights Lawyer. He was plain speaking, genuine person as has ever been a politician. He was fluent in Spanish as many of his rural clients could only speak Spanish. He gained noteriety as Governor for resisting the internment of Japanese descendants from the West Coast. From Wikipedia:
Following Roosevelt’s issuance of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, the War Relocation Authority decided to resettle Japanese Americans from the West Coast into internment camps in the interior of the continent. One camp was Amache near Granada, Colorado. Carr took a unique position among Western governors, who largely adopted the popular anti-Japanese sentiment of the period.
The governors supported internment of all Japanese, whatever their citizenship, and also objected to locating internment camps in their states. Carr, on the other hand, opposed interning American citizens, depriving them of their basic rights as citizens based only on their racial background or the citizenship of their ancestors. Unlike his peers, Carr endorsed the federal government’s incarceration program for non-citizens and agreed that Colorado should accept its share of the evacuees and treat them respectfully. He also underscored the broader context of war against several enemy countries in order to downplay the struggle with Japan that could easily be seen as a racial conflict. When he volunteered Colorado for housing Italian, German, and Japanese relocated from the West Coast, he said:
They are as loyal to American institutions as you and I. Many of them have been born here–are American citizens, with no connection or feeling of loyalty toward the customs and philosophies of Italy, Germany and Japan. … I am not talking on behalf of Japanese, of Italians, or of Germans as such when I say this. I am talking to … all American people whether their status be white, brown or black and regardless of the birthplaces of their grandfathers when I say that if a majority may deprive a minority of its freedom, contrary to the terms of the Constitution today, then you as a minority may be subjected to the same ill-will of the majority tomorrow.
In one speech to a large and hostile audience, made up primarily of worried Colorado farmers, Carr said of the evacuees:
They are not going to take over the vegetable business of this state, and they are not going to take over the Arkansas Valley. But the Japanese are protected by the same Constitution that protects us. An American citizen of Japanese descent has the same rights as any other citizen. … If you harm them, you must first harm me. I was brought up in small towns where I knew the shame and dishonor of race hatred. I grew to despise it because it threatened [pointing to various audience members] the happiness of you and you and you.
He lost his bid for Senator in 1942 to Democrat Ed Johnson otherwise known as ‘Big Ed’. While researching this article I came across this little tidbit about Johnson:
He was perhaps best known for presenting a speech on March 14, 1950, on the Senate floor, criticizing the extramarital affair of actress Ingrid Bergman, who was, at the time, married to Petter Lindström. Bergman’s affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini became a cause célèbre as a result of Johnson’s speech, forcing her to relocate to Europe for several years. Johnson then proposed a bill where movies would be licensed based on the perceived morality of the actors/actresses and stated that Bergman “had perpetrated an assault upon the institution of marriage,” and called her “a powerful influence for evil.”
I would like to think of the Senator as ‘BigAss’ Johnson!