Out actor George Takei this week trained the phasers of his social media starship on two of the prominent right-wing voice in the universe: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and billionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump.
For the outspoken actor turned marriage equality advocate, it's a startling contrast of opponents, given that one virtually never speaks and the other won't stop talking.
Takei's orbital platform for both battles was Lawrence O'Donnell's MSNBC talk show, The Last Word.
In particular, Takei said he felt "compelled to respond" to Thomas's conclusion that the government's allowance of slavery did not strip anyone of their dignity, as well as this analogy:
"Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them."
Takei writes forcefully from his own experience on what it was really like living in a Japanese American internment camp:
"I was only a child when soldiers with bayonetted rifles marched up our driveway in Los Angeles, banged on our door, and ordered us out. I remember my mothers' tears as we gathered what little we could carry, and then were sent to live for many weeks in a single cramped horse stall at the Santa Anita racetracks. Our bank accounts were frozen, our businesses shuttered, and our homes with most of our belongings were left behind, all because we happened to look like the people who had bombed Pearl Harbor.
"A few months later, we were shipped off to the swamps of Arkansas, over a thousand miles away, by railcar. They placed all one hundred twenty thousand of us inside barbed wire fences, machine guns pointed down at us from watch towers. We slept inside bug-infested barracks, ate in a noisy mess hall, and relieved ourselves in common latrines that had no walls between the stalls. We were denied adequate medicines, shelter and supplies. I remember as a child looking up toward a U.S. flag in the room, as we recited the Pledge of Allegiance, those ironic words echoing, "With liberty, and justice for all."
Takei suggested that if Justice Thomas "spent just one day with us in the mosquito-infested swamplands in that Arkansas heat, eating the slop served from the kitchen," he would very quickly understand that it was the government's very intent "to strip us of our dignity and our humanity."
And the actor's last point is directed at Thomas, as an African-American man married to a caucasian woman:
"His own current marriage, if he had sought to have it some fifty years ago, would have been illegal under then-existing anti-miscegenation laws. I cannot help but wonder if Justice Thomas would have felt any loss of dignity had the clerk's office doors been shut in his face, simply because he was of a different race than his fiancee. It is a sad irony that he now enjoys the dignity of his marriage, equal in the eyes of the law to any others, while in the same breath proclaiming that the denial of marriage to LGBTs works no indignity."
"I challenged him to have lunch with me so that we can discuss marriage equality," said Takei, in referencing a Celebrity Apprentice press conference two years ago.
"He did accept, and we had that lunch. When I again met him, he said, 'You know what, George? I just came from a gay marriage' -- he had come from a wedding of a very important Broadway personality, Jordan Roth [who wed producer Richie Jackson]. ... He told me, 'They're good friends of mine. It was a beautiful marriage. They're wonderful friends.'"
Takei asked Trump why he can't then support same-sex marriage.
"He said, 'Well, I'm for traditional marriage,' and we had a long discussion over lunch. We finally agreed to disagree -- he was for traditional marriage, despite the fact that he'd been married three times. That is not traditional.
"I approve of his three-time marriage because you want to find the person that you love, but the important thing here is to understand that our democracy is a dynamic democracy, and our Constitution is a living document, it's not carved in stone.
"I think Donald Trump's interpretation of marriage is something that he himself doesn't really believe in. 'Traditional marriage' is where two people love each other, commit to each other, care for each other over the years. It is a meaningful ceremony, and his interpretation of that is not recognizing what real marriage is."