Actor George Takei of "Star Trek" fame has taken a role in one of the Bay Area's and the nation's most-watched House blockbusters: "Mike Honda VIII: The Wrath of Khanna."
Takei, 76, will helm a campaign fundraiser for Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, on March 20 in San Francisco, as Honda in his trek for an eighth term tries to fend off Democratic challenger Ro Khanna and Republican Vanila Singh.
Takei -- beloved by generations of Trekkies as Mr. Sulu, and more recently as a social-media icon through his prolific and witty use of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and tongue-in-cheek Amazon product reviews -- said Tuesday that he has supported Honda, 72, for decades.
"It was in the mid-'80s when he was contemplating running for supervisor," Takei said; Honda, then a San Jose school board member, won a Santa Clara County supervisoral seat in 1990. "I didn't know him from Adam, but he called me out of the clear blue, and we had a great conversation, I think it lasted about two hours."
Takei, a Los Angeles resident, said they bonded over their shared experience as Japanese-American children who, with their families, were sent to internment camps during World War II. Both later realized that civic engagement was the best way to keep such a thing from ever happening again.
"Our democracy is a people's democracy, which makes it a double-edged sword -- it can be as great as people can be, but as fallible as people are," Takei said. "We have to be involved in the electoral process as concerned citizens, and actively engage our support for good candidates."
The proof, he said, came after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. "Mike has been a champion for our not repeating with Arab-Americans the mistake that happened when Pearl Harbor was bombed. This kind of sensitivity, the awareness on the part of our elected officials, is absolutely essential to our democracy. Thank God we had Mike there."
And Takei -- an activist who disclosed that he's gay in 2005, weeks after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill to allow same-sex marriage in California -- said Honda also has been "a very strong champion for gay rights as well."
So Takei is happy to help bring Honda's campaign up to warp speed, even as he prepares to take his "legacy project" -- "Allegiance," a musical drama recounting his family's internment-camp experience -- to Broadway. Its 2012 premiere in San Diego drew rave reviews and packed houses.
Honda called Takei "a courageous and outspoken leader on equality, and a force to be reckoned with online. I'm honored that he is continuing his support for my campaign."
The March 20 fundraiser seeks from $50 for basic entry to $2,600 to become an "Oh Myyy! Giver," a nod to Takei's famed catchphrase. More information is available by emailing RSVP@MikeHonda.com.