George Takei, perhaps most known for his role as Hikaru Suli in the TV series Star Trek, gave a TED talk about how much he values American democracy, despite the fact that his first experience with it was a devastating one.
After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, Takei and his family, along with Japanese Americans all along the West Coast, were rounded up into internment camps and were not released until the end of the war. As a teenager, Takei struggled to align his early childhood experiences with the ideals of American democracy that were so often touted as he received his education. It was his father who helped him navigate what American democracy mean. He explained that American democracy is a people's democracy, and that it can be as great as people can be, and also as fallible as people are.
George Takei also spoke about the decorated heroes of the 442nd Combat Team during the Second World War, which was made up almost entirely of Japanese Americans, and which won the battle for the Gothic Line once the draft was opened up to interned Japanese Americans. It is with these men in mind, as well as the example his father set for him, that Takei is dedicated to making his country and its democracy better. Because of the examples set by his heroes, and the struggles Japanese Americans have faced, he stands before the audience not only as a "gay Japanese American, but more than that, as a proud American."
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