Republican state lawmakers in Arizona passed legislation last week that will require students be exposed to stories of people who fled communism, but not all lawmakers agreed the political ideology is the biggest threat facing the nation.
“We keep hearing about the threat of communism…you know what’s a bigger threat?” Democratic state Rep. Daniel Hernández asked the Arizona House chamber Friday. “White Nationalism. The insurrection that happened on Jan. 6.
“Those are bigger threats to our nation,” Hernández continued. “So yes, let’s talk about communism, but let’s also talk about…teaching our kids that it’s not ok to try and overthrow a democratically elected government.”
But Hernández’s comments frustrated Vietnamese-American Arizona state Rep. Quang Nguyen, who was born in then-South Vietnam and came to the U.S. as a war refugee at the age of 12 during the Fall of Saigon.
Nguyen pushed back on the legislator’s remarks and said, “White Nationalism didn’t drown 250 Vietnamese in the South China Sea. The communists did.
“White Nationalism did not execute 87,000 South Vietnamese at the Fall of Saigon, communists did. White Nationalism did not put me here, communism did,” he continued. “Don’t take it lightly.”
Nguyen explained he lost “most” of his cousins and family members “due to communism.”
“If we don’t stand up to teach communism to our children, we’ll lose this country. So sir, don’t mock me,” he concluded in a fiery speech. Adding: “I’m pissed.”
In an interview with Fox News, Nguyen explained that as he spoke about members of his family being killed, people in the gallery he believed were teachers gave him the thumbs down.
Nguyen called the act “insensitive” and said, “You’re standing up there and giving me the thumbs down because I’m sharing my family’s story with you. It was appalling to even see that.”
“I came from a long line of warriors who fought against communism…and so many of my relatives have been killed by communists,” he said.
“I lived through the entire Vietnam War, from the very beginning to the very end. So for Mr. Hernández to stand up and speak lightly of it – in itself is unacceptable.
“Mr. Hernández basically showed his lack of intelligence,” Nguyen added.
Fox News could not immediately reach Hernández for comment.
The Arizona legislation will now require schools to teach “a comparative discussion of political ideologies,” including communism and totalitarianism, and how they conflict with democratic principles that are “essential” to the U.S. political system.
The legislation further directs the Arizona State Board of Education to develop a curriculum that includes “civic-minded expectations” for an “upright and desirable citizenry.”