The recent debates between Senate hopefuls Rep. Martin Heinrich and Heather Wilson provide us with the perfect opportunity to ponder the future of New Mexico. Given that the two candidates differed in opinion most greatly on energy policy, we should also be concerned about what their ideas mean for the land on which we live.
The truth is, our public lands are not only a vital part of our identity, but they are also vitally important to our tourism economy as well. Recreation on New Mexico’s public lands—including popular tourist attractions such as Bandelier and Carlsbad Caverns—contribute $3.8 billion annually to our economy in the form of tourism and the associated jobs that are created. And with the potential designation of new protected public lands on the horizon near Taos and Las Cruces, those economic benefits stand to grow.
There is no debate among New Mexico’s residents about how important these public lands are. We can only hope that both candidates agree there is so much more to the public lands picture than energy.
Adbusters, the magazine that spurred Occupy Wall Street, is calling this the Pepsi / Coke Election. Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now!” makes nary a distinction between the two candidates. It seems at the moment when Democrats need cohesion the most it has melted away. I cannot help but sense the usual liberal malaise that precedes a bitter Democratic loss. All factions of our party came together for Obama in 2008. This year the left half of the equation seems content to sit back and watch him lose, as if to mock the rest of us. Republicans can count on the Tea Party to vote for “moderate” Mitt Romney, but Democrats can’t seem to find their friends on the left this time.
Yet the connection between the Far Left and moderate Democrats is essential to the survival of both groups. Occupy Wall Street flourished with support from moderates. Now it seems OWS types are hesitant to reciprocate, despite the fact that failing to do so will deliver Wall Street its greatest possible victory, one of their own in the White House.
Romney will be every bit as disastrous to the left as Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Republicans will push policy even further right, marginalizing cornerstone issues like climate change, economic inequality, green energy, human rights, gay marriage, etc.
Still, I hear the sophomoric mantra that the two candidates are one and the same. Republicans certainly don’t think so. I’m reminded of the 2000 election when many disgruntled progressives simply didn’t vote. We continue to pay for that mistake. To my friends on the left, the core values we all share will be buried under a Romney administration unless we can come together now.
[Re: “Socialism’s Front Woman,” Oct. 18-24] What I don't understand is why certain people invest so much time trying to make the U.S. something it's not. The U.S. is a capitalist country, not a socialist one. Love it or leave it! I'm certain out of the very few remaining socialist countries in the world, there is one or two where Peta Lindsay would be welcome to fight for their cause. I'm thinking of North Korea or Cuba.
One of the greatest freedoms we have in our beautiful capitalist democracy is the freedom to leave. A freedom which, by the way, most people in socialist countries do not enjoy.