Food For Thought: Make Green Chile Great Again

Green Chile Debate Gives Hope For Upbeat News

Dan Pennington
5 min read
Pretend we have a photo of Governor Lujan Grisham throwing these at a bizarre caricature of President Trump. (Eric Williams Photography)
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Right now, a debate has begun roiling, catching national attention, regarding the quality of chile between New Mexico and Colorado. Initially, my skeptical attitude revealed a few things. First off was that Colorado was just insanely wrong, and two, ultimately who cares? Let them have their chile. But then, something in my heart changed and I was overcome with nostalgia. Let me explain.

In the last few years, the news has started breaking my heart. No matter what the news was, it just didn’t feel great. School shootings, overseas wars, some high-up government official did something terrible again, with no consequences as always. Sure, this has been a trend in the news for decades, but lately, it feels like it’s all we see. The feel good stories have been drowned out by the perpetual madness of an administration in disorder and chaos. Literal insanity dictates the cycle of news, leaving me feeling like I’m the crazy one. For God’s sake, we’re currently arguing about whether children being kept in cages on the border should be referred to as being in concentration camps or holding facilities. The conversation keeps moving away from the fact that it’s wrong and getting lost in semantics between people. Am I really the only one who thinks that’s just f*$%ing insane?

Yet here I am, watching Governor Jared Polis and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham take potshots at each other through Twitter, and it’s not mean-spirited attack politics, it’s just playful. They care, but they don’t care
that much. It’s sparked a playful wave of memes from people on both sides, bouncing them back and forth. It’s news that’s relevant to me and isn’t emotionally draining to be involved in.

In just a few years, we’ve let the news cycle ruin our hearts in regard to civility. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, per se, as it’s no longer a matter of opinion as much as it is a stance on morality. How do you justify maintaining a friendship with someone who espouses white supremacist views? But here I am, with friends in both states tossing out their thoughts and opinions on their own green chile, and we’re just ribbing each other endlessly. It feels so refreshing that I can actually enjoy a difference of opinion with someone again. Do you realize how sad writing that statement makes me?

I miss the days when we could have legitimate discussions of tax reform and adjustments to government that didn’t revolve around such horrific atrocities. The days when we could be Democrats and Republicans, yet still friends. I know I’m relatively young and that I grew into this life very rapidly, but I also know it didn’t used to be like this. Civility is dead, and the murderer was moral objectivity.

Is there a true solution for this? I earnestly don’t know. We are watching a shift where the voiceless racists have begun to rise and speak out, empowered and emboldened by xenophobic attitudes and policies being pushed publicly. It’s terrifying. My views have and always will be that we should care for those in need, regardless of cost. Free nationwide healthcare at the cost of higher taxes? 100 percent go for it. Making community college free to attend at the cost of reduced military spending? Absolutely. You shouldn’t have to gamble your life and sell your body to get free schooling from the government. A Latin American family is fleeing their home country knowing full well they’ll be thrown into a concentration camp for seeking safety, and knowing that is still better than the situation they’re presently in? Then we need to help them, not throw them on a bus back home. It’s twice as hard not to care about others suffering than it is to legitimately care.

But damn it all, if it doesn’t feel great to care just enough about green chile to be excited about it, but not enough to be emotionally drained by discussing it. Thank goodness this stupid argument is happening, because I feel relief knowing that somehow, right now, I am on the same page as friends of mine who have supported President Donald Trump for the first time in three years. Oh Colorado, you think Pueblo has better green chile than Hatch? Ha! Enjoy being wrong, and we’ll be over here enjoying real food. On morality, we may be split, but damn it if it doesn’t feel good to just be united as a common group over green chile. Maybe, just maybe, we can start to heal the nation’s wounds with these small moments. These tiny reminders that at one point, we weren’t so diametrically opposed. Thank goodness we as a state can at least rally behind the little green chile that could. It doesn’t just make me feel heat; It makes me feel hope. I think we all need a little more of that lately.
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