Monday, July 05, 2010

Stephen Jones: Reflections on Two Streets in Silver City

This is a post by contributing writer, Stephen Jones, who is a progressive political activist and a resident of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

I don’t do reflective writing very well. I much prefer the writing that involves research and evidence, or concentrating on a specific issue. However, there’s something that helped keep me awake last night, other than muscle aches from walking the length of two parades. Saturday morning I visited Silver City, New Mexico to take pictures of the first parade for Democracy for New Mexico. Silver City is one of those old-time western mining towns that was a wide-open shoot-em-up boomtown once. Now it’s a center of the arts and tourism in southwestern New Mexico.

At Silver City, all sorts of community organizations had booths up to greet local residents before the step-off of the annual Independence Day parade, a parade a lot like any small town parade. The Democrats looked like Democrats. The men had salt and pepper beards, the women looked like retired schoolteachers. The Republicans looked like Republicans too. They were auctioning off a high powered rifle. All the men were smitten by the sight of the big gun. The placard at the Republican booth had something about the 2nd Amendment; the usual stuff.

The Tea Party crowd had their own little stand with lots of placards opposing immigration, demands for picture ID’s to vote, signs demanding the repeal of “Obamacare,” and all the usual slogans against taxes, and “English Only” signs. They were heavy on the anti-immigrant signs. Lots of signs, but the Tea Party people didn’t have any United States flags. The Tea Party just had that snake thing, “Don’t Tread on Me.” Maybe it was just an oversight, maybe not. They all had red, white and blue t-shirts. It’s not quite the same thing. They sure had a lot of placards about immigration, though.

I followed the Silver City parade south on their main street through downtown, Bullard St., trying to get pictures of the Democratic Party float for this blog. Most of the crowd was happy and upbeat, yet reserved. Silver City’s Bullard St. wasn’t all that packed with people, but it was a good crowd. At the end of Bullard St., the parade crosses over a small creek, which flows through a trench called the “Big Ditch.” The Big Ditch was once the old Main St. until a flash flood swept it away and dug out a little chasm early in the 20th Century.

On the opposite side of this chasm, northbound on Hudson St., it was a completely different crowd, demographically, and in terms of size. On Hudson St. the spectators were pretty much all Hispanic, crowded in ten deep or better on both sides of the street. They were waving hundreds and hundreds of flags, all of them the Stars and Stripes, our flag, “Old Glory.” At the front of the parade the crowd was on their feet cheering. I turned around to see what the uproar was all about.

At the front were all the local soldiers in uniform, and all the veterans, including one veteran riding in a Dodge truck whose name is Pablo Guttierrez, a resident of Silver City and one of the few remaining survivors of the Bataan death march. He was riding alone because he’s strapped to an oxygen tank. Funny thing, though. All those other soldiers and veterans, they were mostly all Latino too, like the people on the sidewalks. Kind of makes you think about Tea Parties, and the like.

My Hispanic neighbors are an interesting lot. They believe if they show the world who they are, the rest of the world will realize they just want to be good citizens and neighbors too, except, of course, some of the rest of that world doesn’t seem to see or hear very much.

I hope this will change for the better, someday. I expect that is will. In fact, I’m sure of it. I just hope that day is sometime before I’m 91 years old like Pablo Guttierrez.

To read more posts by Stephen Jones, visit our archive.

July 5, 2010 at 12:10 AM in By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Democratic Party, Hispanic Issues, Holidays, Immigration, Republican Party, Right Wing, Silver City, Veterans | Permalink | Comments (4)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Slideshow: Democrats Roll Across Southern New Mexico to Celebrate Independence Day

See photo album

Contributing writer Stephen Jones checks in with a report from Southern New Mexico.

New Mexico Democrats were on a roll at Independence Day celebrations across southern New Mexico on Saturday, July 3. Leading the charge at Silver City and Las Cruces was Bill McCamley, Democratic candidate for Public Regulation Commissioner, who raced to meet voters aboard roller blades at both parades. Silver City’s annual parade was Saturday morning. The Doña Ana County Parade stepped off at sundown.

The Doña Ana County Electric Light Parade in Las Cruces featured Brian Colón, Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor on behalf of the Denish/Colón ticket, and Congressman Harry Teague. Also on hand were Rep. Nate Cote, Las Cruces Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Thomas, Councillor Gill Sorg, County Commissioner Scott Kraling, and Judge Manny Arrietta. Democratic candidates Andy Segovia, running for County Assessor, Billy Garrett, running for County Commissioner, and Jose Cano running for Magistrate Judge also rolled through the throngs to meet voters Saturday night.

July 4, 2010 at 09:44 PM in By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Democratic Party, Holidays, Las Cruces, Silver City | Permalink | Comments (2)