Et Cetera

I haven’t heard if there’s a politically equivalent term for compassion fatigue but if there isn’t there should be one. Or maybe compassion fatigue can be extended to my present state of exhaustion with constant demands to “support this”, “sign if you…”, “tell your Congressman,,,”, “urge your Senators…”, “protest this”, “vote for…”, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

(Old enough to hear Yul Brenner’s voice pronouncing those words?)

I recently spent part of a Sunday systematically removing myself from mailing lists of one group after another, clearing out my email inbox and hopefully leaving only a few daily news summary feeds, and requests from the single advocacy group that responded to my demand for assurance that if I sign something on their behalf, they will NOT share my information with any other organization. I actually received a personal response guaranteeing that Issue One does not share its mailing list with any other group, and I am therefore staying connected to that advocacy site, which is a bipartisan focus on restoring integrity to our governing system.

In the process of surviving these past months of ever increasing anger, outrage, brutality, fear-mongering, disgust, determination et cetera, et cetera, et cetera (Didn’t he have a mesmerizing voice?) I have also come to take even greater pride in my home state of New Mexico, felt most keenly on the last (2018) election day. While we too often come out near the bottom in national surveys of graduation rates, maternal health, pregnancy rates of high school students, and similar social measures, my state is decidedly in the very top tier for the integrity (and verification of that integrity) of its elections, as well as for inclusiveness of all social and racial and ethnic groups, et cetera et cetera, et cetera in our state and its political process. No gerrymandering accusations, all inclusive voter registration opportunities (driver’s license and public assistance applications both include an invitation to register to vote if eligible), and accessible voting sites with ample early and absentee voting options.

I felt deep pride as I marked my paper ballot, watched it being scanned into a reader, saw the recorded count indicator tick up one, and noted my individual voting number to use if I should wish to verify that my votes were recorded exactly as I cast them. No races in the state were close enough to require recounts, the gubernatorial transition went smoothly and New Mexico moved forward with its familiar absence of presence on the national news, other than noting that we elected one of the two “first” Native American women to the House. The fact that we were the first state in the nation to have two women competing for governor (back in 2010) did not make the national news. And there was also no coverage on-line of the fact that the most recent transition in the governor’s office was from one Hispanic woman to another Hispanic woman. 

I rarely watch television – don’t have reception in my home – so I cannot confirm that the national news still omits New Mexico when reporting on weather events in the southwest. My father was the one who first commented that the announcers will talk about California, Arizona and Texas skipping New Mexico entirely. I reminded him of the cite in Milagro Beanfield War describing “poor New Mexico, so far from heaven, so close to Texas.” Then I remarked that the quote most probably did NOT originate with a New Mexican, as many of us feel we live pretty darn close to heaven in our beautiful state with its clear star filled skies, amazing sunsets, varied terrain and dramatic weather variations across a single day. I am happy to add to the heavenly aspects the warm reception given to Vietnamese refugees, to a growing Muslim population, to survivors of Katrina who chose to settle and stay after what they had thought would be a temporary evacuation, and even to Californians, New Yorkers and yes, Texans.

The look of the House of Representatives since this past January, was touted as the most diverse ever, and closer than ever to reflecting the diversity of our nation. Would that a little more notice might be taken of New Mexico’s diversity, and the extent to which a singularly poor state manages to balance the differing priorities of that diverse population.

Or maybe it is better that we continue to be overlooked, omitted, frequently thought to not even be part of the U.S.?

Left to ourselves we have been largely spared the uglier aspects of the current national scene, though we have had a couple shooting rampages and quite a number of incidents of cronyism and corruption that have taken too long to be exposed. Left to ourselves, we do expose them – like the President and members of the Board of Directors of Luna Community College who were ousted after nearly costing the school its accreditation. Or the fire chief, his daughter a payroll officer, and his friend who is also an official in the fire department of Mora County who were fired after an investigation into misuse of County funds.

That is the same Mora County, historically the poorest county in our poor state,  which became the first entity in the nation to attempt to pass a local ordinance banning fracking within its borders. They were ultimately unsuccessful at establishing legal precedent, but they did bring the oil and gas exploration effort to a halt for long enough to enact needed strict controls on the exploitation process.

I could identify other positive “firsts” New Mexico has achieved which have also gone largely unnoticed at the national level. But this post isn’t about bragging on my home state. Rather, I set out to write my way toward a less exhausted frame of mind, hoping to find inspiration to remain engaged enough to continue reading the daily news feeds that I will receive from those few sources that give me facts without a deluge of demands for money or petition signing, or other prodding to action that would once again put my email address onto countless other lists.

I’ll let you know in time, whether I’ve succeeded. For now, I can reiterate that I’m proud of how New Mexico handles its diversity, assures the integrity of its voting process, and quietly goes about achieving first in the nation status for choices I think important. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

 

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One Response to “Et Cetera”

  1. Ronald Maltais Says:

    Wow, two postings in one day! And both wonderful, thought provoking pieces. I too am very proud of New Mexico, especially after the 2018 mid-term elections. This year I was being considered for an interesting position outside of the US. Although things didn’t quite work out I am happy to remain here.

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