In California, heinous sins such as driving a gas-guzzling SUV or eating meat are forgivable if you make penance or are a celebrity. But there is one sin for leftists in California that is unpardonable: criticizing communism. Vietnamese-American California State Senator Janet Nguyen found this out the hard way when she was physically removed from the Senate floor when she publicly denounced the horrors of communism.
A Star Is Born
It’s hard to think of many moments like the one that took place Thursday at Sacramento, where Senator Janet Nguyen of the 34th district of California rose to speak in respect of fallen Vietnamese and refugees seeking freedom and democracy. One might think that this would be a much appreciated sentiment, convulsed as our country is over a new refugee crisis. But Senator Nguyen was promptly ordered to stop talking and then ejected from the Senate chamber.
The senator had began by speaking in Vietnamese, saying that the children of the former South Vietnam soldiers would “never forget the support of former Senator Tom Hayden for the Communist government of Vietnam and the oppression by the Communist Government of Vietnam for the people of Vietnam.” She said efforts of “people like him have hurt the people of Vietnam and have worked to stop the Vietnamese refugees from coming to the United States.”
Somewhere in there, in the face of a point of order, she was hustled out of the room for criticizing a fellow senator. Two days earlier, Mrs. Nguyen had stepped out of the Senate chamber voluntarily while the senators were honoring Hayden, who had served in California senate between 1992 and 2000 and had died in October. She said that she wanted “to share what Senator Hayden meant to me and to the over 500,000 Vietnamese Americans who call California their home.”
What seemed to bother Mrs. Nguyen, according to a version of her remarks posted at her senatorial Web site, is that Hayden — who would eventually marry another anti-war agitator, Jane Fonda — “chose to work directly with the Communist North Vietnamese Government to oppose the efforts of United States forces in South Vietnam.” Hayden, she said, “sided with a communist government that enslaved and/or killed millions of Vietnamese, including members of my own family.”
“Mr. Hayden’s actions,” she said, “are viewed by many as harmful to democratic values and hateful towards those who sought the very freedoms on which this nation is founded.” Were it not, she added, “for the efforts of the thousands of men and women who served bravely in the United States military and the South Vietnamese military, as well as the efforts of millions of Vietnamese citizens who resisted the communists, I would not be standing here.”
Hayden, in Mrs. Nguyen’s telling, “believed that those who protested the human-rights violations of the Communists were tools of the CIA. It is known that he believed that the war was a conflict between Imperialism, led by the United States, and the ‘free’ people of North Vietnam.” She warned that the Vietnamese government today “violates the basic human rights of its citizens.” She called Hayden’s support for the communists “profoundly wrong.”
It’s not our purpose here to harp on Tom Hayden or libel the peace movement. We were on the opposite side of the barricades, for sure, but we have always recognized that there were patriotic doves. It is our purpose to remark that Mrs. Nguyen has touched a chord as our country hurtles toward the 50th anniversary of our defeat in Vietnam. It would be nice to think that her gutsy speech on a long ago war could propel her to national prominence as our country is hiring new leadership in the thick of another fight.
You can see video of the events HERE.