Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The "Little Saigon" flap

While I must confess to a certain schadenfreude at seeing San Jose City Councilwoman Madison Nguyen hoist with her own petard of identity politics and tawdry, emotional pandering, I nonetheless believe the "Little Saigon" militants bode more ill than good for the cause of liberty in this country.

Nguyen began her political career because, "What we [Vietnamese] were missing was a political voice." Why do Vietnamese, or any other ethnic group, need a "political voice?" To get "their share" of special privileges and stolen goods handed out by that vast system of coercion and fraud known as "government," of course! And what of those who don't hear the same voices Nguyen does?

"But 2003 was the year Nguyen cemented her name in the political landscape. A San Jose police officer shot and killed a 25-year-old Vietnamese woman he thought was brandishing a cleaver. It turned out to be a large-bladed, Asian-style vegetable peeler. Nguyen rallied the Vietnamese community together in defense of the slain woman, leading vigils and protests." Night of the dao bao, by Massad Ayoob, gives a more complete and accurate picture of the tragic events of 13 July 2003. The facts -- that the slain woman, Cau Thi Tran, was a violent psychotic; that she had quit taking her medications; that she was beyond the ability of her own friends and family to control; that police had been called to the scene because she was endangering her own children -- mattered not at all to Nguyen. By this time an elected officeholder and veteran political organizer, Nguyen saw a chance to make political hay and she jumped on it. Did she have to libel a good and decent man in the process? No matter. Did she have to spread misunderstanding and sow divisions between the police and the "Vietnamese community?" So much the better, when it comes to identity politics!

So, no tears here for the plight of Madison Nguyen. But the insistence on "official names" is more an artifact of socialism, communism, fascism, and other forms of groupthink, than it is a characteristic of a free people. The same could be said of the anti-self defense crowd (Don't like guns? Don't buy one!); both sides of the "gay marriage" divide (The State consecrates nothing, though it profanes much); the various controversies over the Pledge of Allegiance (Its author, Francis Bellamy, was a proto-fascist who dreamed of a militarized, imperial, socialist America); and a host of other controversies ginned up to keep our eyes off the hands of the political three-card monte artists who con us out of our lives, liberty and property. Are our lives and values really meaningless unless they're validated by the State?
Chuck Reed Is A Pansy

Citing "security" concerns, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has announced that he will not attend this year's Vietnamese New Year parade.

The whole affair, of course, is wrapped up in the ridiculous controversy over officially designating a section of Story Road the "Saigon Business District." The local Vietnamese community, as fractious now as they were in their homeland (one of the reasons the North won) couldn't agree on an "official" name. Councilwoman Madison Nguyen, the first Vietnamese to be elected to the City Council, proposed the "Saigon Business District" name as a compromise. Mayor Chuck Reed supported Nguyen's compromise proposal, and the City Council approved it. The supporters of "Little Saigon" remain unmollified, denouncing Nguyen as a Communist, demanding she resign, calling for her recall, picketing City Hall weekly, etc.

So, here we are. When he was running for mayor, Chuck Reed's campaign literature made much of the fact that he and his daughter were the first father-daughter cadet wing commanders in the history of the US Air Force Academy. Reed served in Thailand during the Vietnam War, while his daughter flew A-10s in combat in Iraq. Apparently it's fine to fly over people's countries dropping bombs on them when they've never harmed or threatened your country, another thing entirely to confront them face-to-face.

What a wuss.