Conservative PR guru and Reagan biographer Craig Shirley has an excellent piece over at Breitbart in which he explains why it is utterly detestable that anti-American leftist Jane Fonda was cast as Nancy Reagan in the new Hollywood film Lee Daniels' The Butler, and not, it's not just her infamous pose with North Vietnamese anti-aircraft guns.
Fonda, Shirley notes, sought to slam the door on Vietnamese "boat people" who were fleeing the brutal Communist regime, while other Americans across the political spectrum -- Shirley commends leftie folk singer Joan Baez for her advocacy of the boat people -- stood up for human rights and for welcoming asylum seekers (emphases mine):
The problem goes far deeper than appearances. The very day Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, Jane Fonda was quoted as saying he was “a lousy actor and he’ll make a lousy president.” Reagan reciprocated the minimal respect.
Indeed, one would be hard pressed to think that Reagan would have approved of the casting of Fonda as his wife – since in a letter he wrote to William F. Buckley during his presidency, he called Fonda and her then-second husband, Tom Hayden, “traitors to their country.”
Reagan was being charitable. Fonda was not just a traitor to her country, she was also a traitor to humanity. “Hanoi Jane” cheered on the North Vietnamese, and like many on the left in America, was pleased about the downfall of the pro-American South Vietnam government.
As Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge came to power, springing from Cambodia (which the left went crazy over when Nixon bombed it) millions died at the hands of that murderous communist regime in the “killing fields” and “reeducation camps.” Were Fonda and her comrades happy about the extermination by communist thugs of innocent civilians? There is no evidence they supported the genocide – but on the other hand, neither is there evidence they opposed it.
Silence equaled death.
And when the time came to show some compassion and help these people flee for their lives in hundreds of rickety boats, the American Left turned their backs on these helpless people because it didn’t comport with their political views. Adrift in the South China Sea, the “Boat People” were easy prey for Thai pirates who committed heinous acts of rape, pillage and murder against the defenseless Boat People.
George McGovern sniffed that Southeast Asian people should stay in Southeast Asia. Other liberals expressed similar indifference and Jimmy Carter, who had made human rights a theme of his presidency, dithered for a number of days before reluctantly allowing the Boat People into America.
One liberal who did show mettle was Joan Baez, who held free concerts across America to raise money for the Boat People. Baez, a thinking woman’s pacifist, didn’t hate America; she hated war. Fonda, on the other hand, supported the war being waged by the North Vietnamese and by extension, the communists in China and Moscow, against the United States.
Baez hated war, while Fonda reviled America. It doesn’t get more black and white than that. Baez later took out full page ads in American newspapers denouncing the human rights violations in Vietnam.
In response to Baez’s compassion, Fonda wrote a letter to her denouncing Baez for trying to help the people fleeing communist oppression. “Your actions only align you with the most narrow and negative elements in our country who continue to believe that Communism is worse than death.” This was a long time ago but that doesn’t make it any less true than “Hanoi Jane” participated in propaganda broadcasts aimed at undermining the morale of US military personnel.
There’s ill irony, then, that she’s now portraying Nancy Reagan. Fonda made a political cause of supporting the tormentors of the Vietnamese Boat People while Nancy Reagan and her husband were compassionately greeting these refugees in California as new Americans.
Eventually, about 800,000 of the one million who fled Vietnam made it to America.
Nancy Reagan and Ronald Reagan also greeted the American POWs – along with Richard Nixon and Ross Perot – kindly and warmly in California, as they were finally released. They both wept when told the stories of torture endured by the brave young American men. The young Americans’ time in captivity might have gone a tad better without Jane Fonda egging their captors on.
Diamonds and Rust indeed.
There is no evidence that Jane Fonda did anything except cause misery in other peoples’ lives when it comes to this difficult period of American history.