State Representative Daniel Hernandez (D-Tucson) voted against a requirement for K-12 students to learn about the dangers of communism, saying that white nationalism poses the bigger threat.
Hernandez issued those remarks during the House floor vote on the K-12 budget last Friday. In just over a century of existence, communism has claimed over 100 million lives. However, Hernandez claimed that the existence of white nationalism, which he attributed to the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, was far worse.
“So, we keep hearing about ‘the threat of communism, it is a great threat, it is such a bad thing.’ You know what’s a bigger threat? White nationalism. The insurrection that happened on January 6. Those are bigger threats to our nation,” said Hernandez. “So, yes, let’s talk about communism. But let’s also talk about making sure that we are not letting people get away with the kinds of things that were happening on January 6, and teaching our kids that it’s okay to try and overthrow a democratically-elected government. With that, I vote nay.”
Hernandez is running as a 2022 candidate for Arizona’s second congressional district, and the former school board president for Tucson’s Sunnyside Unified School District. Several years into his tenure, Hernandez faced a recall effort over his conduct. The recall effort was unsuccessful.
State Representative Judy Burges (R-Skull Valley) was responsible for introducing the language to the bill. It requires that educators engage in a comparative discussion, sharing the stories of those who’d escaped communism and totalitarianism.
Hernandez’s assertion was in response to remarks made by State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek).
Hoffman had marveled at his Democratic colleagues who voiced opposition to the teaching requirement. He reminded the floor that the Chinese and Russian governments are expanding the reach of their deadly communist regimes across the globe, citing their recent moves into the Middle East.
“So, we’ve heard a little bit about having civics standards, and how, apparently, these are somehow bad – that they’re unnecessary. But the reality is that one of the greatest threats facing the globe today is communism and totalitarianism,” said Hoffman. “The threat of communism – and honestly even here within our own borders – the threat of Marxism is on our front porch.”
Hoffman also reminded the floor that there are those in Arizona’s educational system that favor communism – such as the campaign manager for State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, Noah Karvelis – an avowed socialist.
“To teach our children about the evils of communism and totalitarianism is right. It is our duty and our responsibility to do that. To have them experience real testimony from people who escaped those types of governments and now live here and enjoy the blessings of this country – that is an exceptional thing to teach students,” asserted Hoffman. “It is no different than teaching students about the evils of the Holocaust so that they can understand why we never want to repeat that again. Well communism and Marxism has killed more people in the last 100 years than any other governmental or political ideology. So it is absolutely critically necessary that we teach that. And I am shocked, yes actually shocked, that there are people who would argue against teaching children about the evils of communism and totalitarianism.”
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “State Rep. Daniel Hernandez” by State Rep Daniel Hernandez.