Gideon J. Tucker was writing about his home state of New York when he penned this famous observation: “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session!”
But what applies in Albany also fits the situation in Phoenix, and probably every other state capitol.
In fact, the homogenization of our politics has state legislators sounding very similar to their Capitol Hill counterparts. Or maybe it’s just an old-fashioned dose of “Potomac Fever.”
That’s certainly the case with Rep. Daniel Hernandez (D-Tucson). Having represented LD 2 since winning election in 2016, Hernandez announced in May that he would run for the U.S. House from Arizona’s Second Congressional District in 2022.
Perhaps that’s why Hernandez appeared to parrot Nancy Pelosi during debate on the state House floor June 25.
“We keep hearing about the threat of Communism,” Hernandez harrumphed. “You know what’s a bigger threat? White nationalism!”
And with that, the representative from Tucson broke into full-throated fury, conflating any and all conservatives with white nationalists’ intent on “teaching our kids that it’s OK to overthrow a democratically elected government.”
So enthused were some of his fellow Democrats that they pounded their desks, apparently unaware or unconcerned that desk pounding was often the public reaction of Soviet Communist Party Boss Nikita Khrushchev during his premiership in the late 1950s and early ’60s.
Back in the here and now, Hernandez was no doubt dreaming of his future as a member of Congress. But his daydream was about to be interrupted by a state house colleague who did not bring talking points to the floor.
Instead, Rep. Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott Valley) carried with him the memories of brutal Communist oppression that cost the lives of loved ones in his native Vietnam.
In politics and life, genuine passion surpasses contrived outrage, as Hernandez was about to learn. Meantime, the first-term member from LD 1 first sought to temper his righteous indignation with humor.
“I’m not a big talker…I stood back there and listened to everybody and I just got irritated, so I came over here and pressed the white button. Is it OK if I say, ‘white button?’”
His quip-as-a-question brought much-needed laughter to the House chamber, but Rep. Nguyen soon turned serious.
“White nationalism didn’t drown 250,000 Vietnamese in the South China Sea. The Communists did. White nationalism didn’t execute 86,000 South Vietnamese at the fall of Saigon. The Communists did. White nationalists didn’t put me here (in the United States). Communism did.
“So don’t take it lightly…I lost most of my cousins and family members due to Communism. If we don’t stand up to teaching Communism to our children, we’ll lose this country.”
Then Nguyen turned directly to Hernandez.
“So, sir, don’t mock me.”
It isn’t only Daniel Hernandez. Leftists nationwide have long mocked “godless Communism,” insisting that those who are concerned are intent on reviving a “Red Scare.”
Quang Nguyen knows better.
Will we learn from his experience?
If not, Gideon J. Tucker’s pronouncement from the past will have to be amended.
“No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the Communists are in control!”