A few weeks ago, gusts of scandalized harrumphing erupted when hectoring Leftist U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren was shushed for violating that body’s obscure Rule # XIX which forbids one honorable from impugning the motives of another. She leveled some nasty accusations at then-Senator/now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Majority Leader Mitch McConnel instructed her to cease and desist; great gasps of outrage from Warren’s Democratic colleagues followed.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the continent, an elected official of a decidedly different stripe was treated even more demeaningly — and barely a politically-correct bleat has been heard about it.
February 23rd, California State Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Santa Ana) arose in the senate chamber to proffer her viewpoint on late Golden State Senator Tom Hayden — Jane Fonda’s ex, anti-Vietnam War activist and Viet-Cong apologist — who passed away October 21st of 2016. Two days previous to Nguyen’s public statement, Hayden had been memorialized by more than a dozen fellow legislators — and it turns out her evaluation of the erstwhile 1960s radical didn’t exactly track with theirs. When she attempted to enunciate her thoughts? Chaos ensued.
Using written remarks, the first-term, Vietnamese-American senator tried to read aloud, initially in Vietnamese then transitioning into English. Among her reflections:
I recognize today in memory of the million of Vietnamese and the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees who died seeking freedom and democracy. I recognize that on Tuesday you had an opportunity to honor Senator Tom Hayden. With all due respect, I would like to offer another historical perspective … As you may be aware, Tom Hayden chose to work directly with the Communist North Vietnamese Government to oppose the efforts of United States forces in South Vietnam.
I say “tried to read aloud” because her microphone was unceremoniously squelched, Democratic Senator Bill Monning took to another live mic to officially object to her comments, charges that she was “out of order” were repeatedly droned over her as she continued her oration, and, finally, a pair of “Sergeants-at-Arms” physically ushered her from the floor.
Factoring in California’s general political/cultural atmosphere, it’s not altogether shocking Ms. Nguyen was both verbally and literally manhandled this way. The text of her courageous observations, her overall attitudes toward America and our history and, in some regards even her story, implicitly and calculatedly cut crosswise against the Lefty narrative favored by most Eureka State pols and voters (remember, a California majority gave Hillary Clinton the nod in November’s presidential contest.)
Barely surviving a hellish escape from the nightmare that her native country had become, she and her family settled in California in the early 1980s. Defying cultural whiplash, they worked hard and made a life for themselves in their new land. Nguyen graduated from UC/Irvine and then aimed at public service: at 28, elected to the Garden Grove City Council; two years later, ascending to Orange County supervisor; she was the youngest person ever to serve in either berth. In 2014, she bested a Governor-Jerry-Brown-backed Democratic rival to become the first Vietnamese American state senator in U.S. history.
“I think to myself, ‘Wow,'” admits Nguyen in a Los Angeles Times interview; “I’m one of 40 state senators in California … That’s the American dream … [W]hat America is about.”
Why’d she opt to politick under the Republican banner? “It’s the party of the entrepreneur. Of opportunity. Of making sure we’re not in debt.”
Following a 2015 UC-Irvine incident where students voted to ban the American flag on campus, a perturbed Nguyen championed the passage of a constitutional amendment that would protect the Stars-and-Stripes at state-funded California colleges and universities. The exercise fell short, but as LA Times columnist George Skelton opined, “[T]here are a lot worse things in politics than standing up for Old Glory.”.
Then, more of her aborted testimony before her senate audience:
Were it not for the efforts of the thousands of men and women who served bravely in the United States military … I would not be standing here on this Senate … In addition to the sacrifices made during war, the efforts of President Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s allowed many Vietnamese like me to seek refuge in the United States.
Pro Military? A Ronald Reagan fan? Hazarding a kind word for America’s costly Vietnam exertions? A flag-waving patriot? This is cross-in-front-of-a-vampire stuff for the big government, we-are-the-world, progressive set.
But for hard-core liberals, it gets even worse: the forty-year-old Vietnamese immigrant is an unabashed truth-speaker about Communism’s grisly track record, taking hefty whacks at that tyrannical ideology, condemning Vietnamese government atrocities: Democide: a million dead Viets. Estimates of two million men, women and children driven from their towns and villages, fleeing by any conveyance possible. Among the oft-lamented “Boat People”, not a few perished at sea from storms, starvation, sickness or pirates. (When the latter didn’t murder the tormented refugees, they often terrorized them in other ways: rape, robbery, assault, abduction.) Yet another two to three hundred thousand, unable to escape their homeland, were mercilessly shuttled into “re-education camps” where they endured torture, malnourishment and grueling labor.
Once more, Sen. Nguyen summarizes in terms both pithy and uncushioned: “Mr. Hayden sided with a communist government that enslaved and/or killed millions of Vietnamese, including members of my own family.”
Reason #2 for Janet Nguyen’s affinity for the GOP? Repubs’ longtime anti-Communist street cred.
For an amplifying number of Leftists and Democrats, that kind of talk is a no-no. Any knock against Communism, you see, makes them fidget because Communism is kissing-cousin to Socialism — which, make no mistake, is the economic philosophy increasingly fueling the activity of that caucus. Communists, it has been said, are merely Socialists with a gun.
And Sen. Nguyen’s indictment reminds listeners that her would-be Vietnamese masters used that gun remorselessly — as, historically, have many a doctrinaire Commie over the past hundred years. 1997’s Black Book of Communism scrupulously catalogues the butcher’s bill of Marx’s/Lenin’s/Mao’s pet theories and their implementation. 93 million slaughtered? 100 million? Actually, Vietnamese casualties are a comparatively narrow slice of the total. The mind reels.
A gallery of Democratic lawmakers bristled, reacting aggressively, when one of their peers raised even an indirect gesture toward that gruesome fact.
How was she treated? Her voice was shut down, her person forcibly removed. It all sounds unnervingly like the conduct of a despotic, demonic Commie horror show that unfolded around Ngyuen and her loved ones half-a-world away, forty years ago. They probably thought they’d left all that behind.
[Editor: New developments in this story can be read here.]
Image: Screen grab: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article134515314.html