Red Menace

On March 24, the Register reported that the Westminster City Council had passed a resolution that "broadly condemns communism." Clockwork knew of the merchant who unleashed the wrath of his neighbors after he posted a Vietnamese flag and poster of Ho Chi Minh in his video store, but we were not aware of a local red threat. Surely the council wouldn't condemn a political philosophy based on one shopkeeper. So, knowing that a red menace couldn't bubble up unless participants educated themselves about communism, we called the city's hub of otherworldly information: the county's Westminster branch library.

Clockwork: Hello, I'm trying to find out if you have a copy of The Communist Manifesto?

Reference librarian: What's the title?

The. Com. Mun. Ist. Man. If. Festo.

Who's the author?

We're thinking Karl Marx.

Okay, let me check. [sound of fingertips striking computer keys] No, we don't have it.

You don't have it?

Stanton library has it. Fountain Valley. Mesa Verde. You know, Stanton is 3 miles from here.

I know where Stanton is. Do you have any other books on communism in stock there in Westminster?

Let me look. Hold on. [sound of fingertips striking computer keys] Unbroken. It's about problems in a concentration camp-a story of resistance and survival by Len Crome. It's from World War II. Soviet Leaders From Lenin to Gorbachev. . . . Strange Communists I Have Known.

Oh, so you do haveStrange Communists I Have Known.

Yes.

Is there a way to tell if those communist books in Westminster are checked out regularly?

Yes, for three weeks.

[Puzzled] They are checked out regularly for three weeks?

Yes, you check them out for three weeks.

Commie books flying off the Westminster library shelves? This was big. We called the Garden Grove Chamber of Commerce.

Has communism had a negative impact on business in Westminster?

Barbara Eames, administrative assistant: There is no communism in Westminster per se. There are people across the U.S. who individually are communists. But there is no organized faction in Westminster. I know there may be sympathizers, but there's no group I know of.

So there's no sign that people are avoiding Westminster because of the communism there?

Oh, no. In fact, I've been receiving calls all day long from people. Someone from LA wanted to know how to get to Little Saigon because he wants to have lunch there.

A Los Angeleno-as they call themselves-suddenly interested in visiting Westminster? Hmmm. We went to the councilman who drafted the anti-commie resolution.

Hello, I'm calling about your resolution condemning communism.

Kermit Marsh: I certainly do reject communism, but the resolution was specifically designed to condemn the communist regime in Hanoi.

Oh, I'm sorry. I called it a "resolution condemning communism" because the headline in theRegister says, "Council Broadly Condemns Communism." But never mind that. Besides the video-store owner in Little Saigon, are there any other signs of communism in Westminster?

I wouldn't say there are signs of communism here. I wouldn't say [the video-store incidents] were signs of communism. The resolution was designed to criticize the regime in Vietnam. It is not directed at Americans engaging in whatever they engage in. It's pretty clear that communism is a flawed system. But I don't think there is any communist activity here. If there is, I'm certainly not aware of it. I see why a communist would like it here better; it's a nice place to live.

So there you have it: the council did not condemn communism. In fact, the resolution's author agrees Westminster is a nice place for commies to live. Come on down, Ivan!

 
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