Spinning U.S. History Until We’re Dangerously Dizzy

Symbols do matter whether it’s the flag of rebellion or the swastika of genocide. Take it from someone who’s been on the losing end of one of those arguments.

History matters as well, and we place our country at risk without consensus on the facts and meanings of our shared experience in all its glory and pain.

Our-heroes

Confederate generals (from left) Stonewall Jackson, P. G.T. Beauregard and Robert E. Lee in “Our heroes and our flags,” Southern Lithograph Company, ca. 1896. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, reproduction number LC-DIG-pga-03338. (Click image to enlarge)

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Bashing the Bearers of Bad News

While I miss some aspects of the 1970s, my hair and the Allman Brothers Band, for example, the Nixon zombies roaming Albuquerque City Hall are not welcome here in 2015.

Spiro Agnew (left), Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum, image No. T25035c1-27; John Mitchell, photo by Steve Northrup in Time Magazine, April 30, 1973, author's collection.

Spiro Agnew (left), Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum, image No. T25035c1-27; John Mitchell (right), photo by Steve Northrup in Time Magazine, April 30, 1973, author’s collection.

Among the undead is Attorney General John Mitchell, part of the team that shilled for President Nixon by attacking enemies real and imagined in and out of the news media. He’s the one who said Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham is “gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer” over exposing a connection between the Watergate burglary and the Nixon re-election campaign. By that time, Mitchell ran the Committee to Re-Elect the President, wonderfully known as CREEP. Continue reading

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Mellow El Paso vs. Shoot-’em-up Albuquerque

If Albuquerque took a chill pill, it might act more like El Paso, Texas, a metro area of similar size but only half the violent crime.

Metro Albuquerque counts four times as many murders as El Paso, a city 250 miles down the Rio Grande opposite Cíudad Juarez, Mexico, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) for 2013. Albuquerque tallies twice as many rapes and in 2013 recorded 742 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, twice the national rate.

El-Paso-v-Abq

El Paso police cordon a downtown street to investigate a pedestrian fatality. Unlike Albuquerque, jaywalking laws are enforced here. Photo © William P. Diven

In comparison to the Wild West shootout occurring almost nightly in Albuquerque, El Paso might as well be Mayberry RFD.

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New Year, No Fear

Another year blows by like so many snow pellets riding a ferocious east wind. In crossing the artificial dateline on Pope Gregory’s calendar, how do you tally progress versus the countervailing forces of fear and greed?

Snow-streaking

Sideways snow falling in the foothills of New Mexico’s Sandia Mountains, Dec. 30, 2014. Photo © William P. Diven.

On balance the human species survived 2014 without actually destroying the planet. That counts as a positive although one friend isn’t so sure. Would be fine with her if Homo sapiens somehow erased itself leaving earth and the animal kingdom to proceed without our interference.

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Will You Be Trekking for Justice When You’re 91 Like She Is?

Sally-Alice Thompson was young–only 63–when she walked across the United States protesting nuclear armament. Nearly 30 years later, she hit the road for Santa Fe to preserve the value of voting.

Sally-Alice Thompson on the march nearing Algodones, N.M. Photo © William P. Diven. (This photo also appeared in the Sandoval Signpost, Placitas, N.M.)

Sally-Alice Thompson on the march nearing Algodones, N.M. Photo © William P. Diven. (This photo also appeared in the Sandoval Signpost, Placitas, N.M.)

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Openness cures ills unless government blocks the sunshine

Who loses when supposed leaders don’t get the big picture? We the people, of course.

So, how to explain denying our history, ignoring the First Amendment on public lands and cloaking yet another attempt to dam the free-flowing Gila River?

Gila River Lower Box in the dam project area. Photo © William P. Diven.

Gila River Lower Box in the dam project area. Photo © William P. Diven.

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We Beat Dick Nixon in 1972 When Nobody Else Could

Here’s a story of a forgotten 1960s youth movement, the Vietnam War and how 3,300 of my closest friends and I derailed Dick Nixon’s political machine.

1960 Nixon campaign pin. Author's collection.

1960 Nixon campaign pin. Author’s collection.

In it Team Nixon plans a pure victory and cheats in a failed attempt to get it. It’s also a reminder of why politics can be a great game, why votes count and why voters, especially younger ones, need to wake up and smell the excitement. Continue reading

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Here’s What It’s Like To Discover You’re An Alien In Your Own Country

Let us marvel at what happens when a savvy citizen with strong views on the Constitution and border protection bumps head first into the reality of southern New Mexico.

Witness the tale of Tim Blomquist, insurance agency owner, former Army intelligence officer, and a stranger in this strange land.

Bordre Patrol K-9 Rudy sniffing out meds on I-10. © William P. Diven.

Border Patrol K-9 Rudy sniffing out meds on I-10. © William P. Diven. (Click to enlarge)

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Sniping At Our Newest National Monument

The negative spin on the new Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument suggests we’ve thrown the door open wide to terrorists and narcotraficantes while stomping all over New Mexico’s already abused cattle ranchers. That’s easy to believe, too, if you see no good in anything Barack Obama does or only watched the Fox network covering the story.

The moon rises at sunset over the Organ Mountains and Las Cruces, N.M. © William P. Diven

The moon rises at sunset over the Organ Mountains and Las Cruces, N.M. © William P. Diven

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