Letter to CA Senate President - Thu gui Chu Tich Thuong Vien CA

Email: hamyanh1@gmail.com

March 1, 2017

Kevin De Leon
Senate President of California
State Capital Room 205
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Mr. Senate President Leon:

We are shocked and shaken to learn that on Thursday February 23, 2017 California State Senator Janet Nguyen was removed by force from the Senate floor while she was expressing herself for her constituents. One quote resonates: “Her profile is certainly raised statewide. It’s also an opportunity to reframe what’s happening in the party – this is an immigrant, this is a refugee, this is a woman of color who was clearly put down here.”

Mr. Senate President

I am grateful for people such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr., who struggled against an oppressive culture that used its laws to make African Americans into second-class citizens. Both Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. broke U.S. legal policy and laws in order to stand up for their personal freedom and dignity. Even with the threat of going to jail, Parks and King remained steadfast in their beliefs to bring justice to their entire community, despite what the laws might state. Today we in the U.S., and even people around the world, remember how Rosa Parks stood up for herself and inspired millions to do the same. Fortunately, the Civil Rights Bill was passed to enable that all people in the U.S. are treated equally and with dignity. The legacy of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. is that Americans are allowed to protest for their civil liberties, even if it means getting arrested and sentenced to prison. They fought for what they felt was morally correct, even if the laws were against them.

Fifty-seven years later, Janet Nguyen was physically removed from the California Senate Floor by order of her colleague, Senator Ricardo Lara. The event occurred on February 23, 2017, two days after the state senate held a ceremony to honor (actress Jane Fonda’s husband) Tom Hayden’s anti-war activism. Senator Nguyen tried to make a statement about Hayden’s outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War and what his wife had done to the Vietnamese people and the Vietnam Vets during the Vietnam War. In July 1972, Hayden and Fonda went to Hanoi, North Vietnam, and earned her reputation as Hanoi Jane Fonda by aiding and abetting the enemy, while American soldiers were fighting the Communists to protect freedom and democracy for Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia) and to stop Communism spreading to the free world. The American people and soldiers called her a traitor, as documented in a photo taken in Hanoi of her on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun.  A few hundred yards from the location of this picture, American POW’s were being subjected to all
manner of torture at the “Hanoi Hilton”. When Hanoi Jane Fonda came back to America, she misled the Americans by called returning POWs “hypocrites and liars”, adding, “These were not men who had been tortured. These were not men who had been starved, these were not men who had been brainwashed”.  We did not lose the war in the battlefield, but we lost the war in America: over 100 thousand soldiers wounded, and America lost 58 thousand loved ones; the Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian people lost their countries to Communism.

Have you ever asked yourself how the oppressed are going to react?  What are their rights?  What are the emotional and physically reactions that might ensue when one member of a community feels betrayed and persecuted by another's very presence?  I ask, “Have you ever talked to a Cambodian man about when the Khmer Rouge killed his family in front of him when he was ten years old?”  More importantly: do you know that the Vietnamese refugees resettled in the U.S. are still recovering from the nightmares of the destruction, not to mention the loss of their country due to Communists – who are now welcome into the U.S.?  The Vietnamese Americans living in the U.S. fled their persecutors over forty years ago and now are confronted with these same attackers on U.S. soil – their adopted homeland.  Where is their freedom of expression? Many first-generation Vietnamese Americans still suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the very people who are now being taken into the U.S. as gestures for normalization as well as peace and reconciliation between Vietnam and the U.S.  For many Vietnamese Americans, this effort to reconcile is not possible, given the fact that the Communist Vietnamese regime still presides and oppresses the Vietnamese people, not only in Vietnam, but also, as it appears, in the U.S. as well.  Thus, the Vietnamese American community as well as all Americans who love freedom and peace should stand up and fight for  what they thinks is right – protecting freedom and liberty and giving voice to those who cannot.

Mr. Senate President:

What should you say to the next Vietnamese American generation for what your colleague did on the Senate Floor? There are three Vietnamese American Generals who are serving in the United States military and a few other Navy captains now serving in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Ocean to protect “Safety Zones” and Freedom of Navigation. In addition, the Vietnamese Americans have held many elected positions such as U.S Congressmen/Congresswomen, Mayors, City Councilors I do not mention about, Professors, Doctors, Pharmacists and Lawyers…

Luckily, we are living in the best democracy in the world, and America is always a symbol for Freedom and Justice for all. Please do not let it happen again. Together we should preserve the past and protect the future for our children.

May God Bless America.

Dr. Hai Van Ha

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