Inside the Capitol

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

9-12 El Pasoans Treated to NM Political Ads

Syndicated Columnist

SANTA FE -- It's always fun to be a New Mexican when El Pasoans look longingly in our direction. Such an event occurred last weekend in a front-page story from the Austin Bureau of the El Paso Times.
The article lamented that the presidential contenders wouldn't be spending much time in Texas because it is such a red state. But, it noted, El Paso, with its proximity to New Mexico, would be able to see much more of the candidates, their advertisements and surrogates.
Not that the candidates will be straying across the border, but El Paso media cover New Mexico and candidates running statewide or in the southern part of our state have to advertise in El Paso.
Here's a direct quote from that article: "El Pasoans are going to be treated to advertising the rest of Texas won't see." So don't groan when you see negative political ads from the two presidential campaigns. El Pasoans reportedly enjoy it and the rest of Texas would consider it a treat to see those ads.
Now, I don't really think most El Pasoans really consider it a treat to be subjected to the negativity the presidential candidates are aiming at New Mexicans.
Being tucked into New Mexico's southern border the way they are, El Pasoans are considerably more discerning than your average Texan. Many of them understand, for instance, that the Texas overblown ego is mostly bluster, with little to support it.
Some even understand that the mighty Texas army, upon which the state builds its glorious reputation, essentially was a push over. It lost several battles to the Mexican army before stumbling across President Santa Anna later and taking him captive.
Texas leaders made him sign a document surrendering Texas before they would release him. The document never was recognized by Mexico. It took the Mexican-American War to settle that.
Later they set their sights on New Mexico but we whipped them twice. The second time was during the Civil War. Somehow, even though we were on the winning side and Texas wasn't, it won all the boundary disputes and ended up with El Paso.
Over the years, New Mexicans have been testy about that. Occasionally, a member of our state legislature will introduce a resolution calling on the U.S. government to give it back. Sometimes it even involves trading New Mexico's southeast corner to Texas, which we certainly wouldn't want to do.
The efforts, of course, never have gone anywhere. Occasionally, an El Pasoan will even suggest that the city would be much better off in New Mexico, where it would be the largest city and could demand some respect from state government.
Twice in last weekend's El Paso Times article, comments were made about El Paso being ignored and neglected by a state capital so far away. Probably a dozen small East Coast states could be fit in between El Paso and Austin.
It is not only distance but culture that makes El Paso so much more like New Mexico than Texas. Our histories are inextricably linked. Onate, on his way to colonize New Mexico, stopped near what is now El Paso to celebrate a thanksgiving for having made it across the Rio Bravo safely with hundreds of people and thousands of animals.
El Paso was on El Camino Real that ran between Mexico City and Santa Fe. And it was where New Spain's colonists escaped for 12 years during the Pueblo Revolt, along with residents of Isleta Pueblo, who founded Ysleta, southeast of El Paso.
El Paso is a great city, with an international flair. It's not just from Mexico but from much of Europe, from where many fled during World War II. U.S. immigration restrictions prevented many from coming directly to our country, so they came to Mexico and other Latin American countries and emigrated from there., eventually bringing their families from Europe.
We'd like to have our neighbors back.
FRI, 9-12-08

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



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