News Commentary: The Summertime Blues

Lord, I Got To Raise A Holler

August March
7 min read
Melanie Stansbury
Democrat Melanie Stansbury represents a new kind of N.M. House candidate in the NE Heights (courtesy of the candidate)
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“Sometimes, I wonder what I’m gonna do/ Lord, there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues/ I’ve got to take three weeks I gotta have a fine vacation/ I gotta take my problems to the United Nations/ I done told my congressman and he said "vote" (dig this boy)/ Sometimes, I wonder what I’m gonna do/ Lord, there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.”—Hey rockabilly fans, Eddie Cochran wrote that, The Who covered it, but Blue Cheer just kills it.

Like most of America, I was up early this morning, mostly due to anticipation about news from
the scene of a cavern rescue, deep in the mountainous jungles of southeast Asia. Things over there, concerning that matter, went surprisingly well but provide a stark contrast to the cartoon imagery I encountered on social media yesterday. In the cartoon, a group of caged human male children who are under armed guard are watching a live broadcast of the Thai cave rescue. There is some brutality to the depiction, but it essentially portrays the truth. Children are still being held as prisoners of our government.

The latest news in this matter forms the basis for this weeks’ column as it latches onto local effects and proceeds to get more discursive than Tristam Shandy as it goes. I’m indebted to Ralph Looney, the former editor of the
Albuquerque Tribune and many local political writers, who followed in his footsteps by talking and writing about la política in these parts with a local vernacular that expressed consternation and wonder simultaneously.

Immigration Update

This Tuesday afternoon, at about 1:30pm if you wanna know the exact dang time,
The Associated Press reported that the Department of Justice is moving ahead today with plans to reunite at least 50 children with their immigrant parents. The children, all under the age of 5 were separated from their parents as a pat of the zero-tolerance immigration policy initiated by Attorney Jeff Sessions.

Attorneys for the DOJ are in court today seeking an extension for the release of 20 other under 5 whose parents so far cannot be located. A federal judge has given the Trump administration until July 26 to reunite thousands of separated immigrant children currently detained in various prison-like facilities across the nation.

By late afternoon though, as we were going to press, the offices of Senator Martin Heinrich sent out a communiqué, lambasting the failed deadline to reunite children with their parents. During a press conference related to this urgent matter Heinrich said, “President Trump’s decision to take children as young as infants and toddlers away from their parents as a form of punishment or deterrence is morally indefensible. Today is the deadline for reuniting children under 5 with their parents, but barely half are expected to be reunited on time. Each and every child needs to be accounted for and reunited with their parents and it is incumbent on President Trump to fix the crisis that he created.”

Our Representatives at Work

While perusing the local paper of record this afternoon—admittedly right before I drove over to 7-11 for a Bic lighter—I noticed
a story with the headline “NM delegation split on court nominee.” Further examination, or a little reading for Chrissakes, yields the following data, though: four out of five of New Mexico’s congressional delegation (Senators and Representatives) will not support Trump nominee Brett Kavanaugh. I know it’s splitting hairs, perhaps even tilting at windmills, but we vaguely recall the time when the word split was used to imply a forced division into two halves.

Regardless of the semantics involved, and despite the fact that this instance of textual revisionism leaves an unfair initial impression on readers, the headline indeed shows how the mainstream media can use words as effective bits of propaganda in an increasingly desperate culture war.

Senator Udall was particularly candid in his response to the nomination, telling members of the press through an official statement that, “The president pulled Judge Kavanaugh’s name from a pre-approved list concocted by radical, far-right special interests that are committed to undermining a woman’s right to choose, health care protections, safeguards for workers and seniors, LGBTQ rights, and a host of other critical public protections that touch the lives of every New Mexican and every American.”

About the Southern Lands

Electing more Democrats and potentially tilting the pendulum toward a saner set of oscillations by reducing the power and aegis of a right wing GOP hellbent on erasing 50 years of American history is clearly a goal for citizens as we all move toward the future and the general election in November.

Although the 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts in New Mexico have been traditionally held by Democrats, the 2nd District may be up for grabs too.

The incumbent Steve Pearce is not running; having given up the seat to run for governor. The Republican contender, then is
Yvette Herrell, a very conservative Republican who currently serves in the state Legislature. As a state representative, Herrell has supported attempts to limit or ban late term abortions and has the support of the ultra-conservative House Freedom caucus.

The good news is that her opponent,
Xochitl Torres Small is a young Nueva Mexicana with grit and determination who happens to match the progressive vision this state needs to come up from behind. She also has some solid cred. A degree from Georgetown and time spent in the employ of Senator Tom Udall have all played a part in developing a future leader with a vested interest in issues that are of major importance to New Mexicans, such as the environment, education and sustainable economic growth.

Flipping this house seat into the blue column should be a priority for Dem politicos in the Land of Enchantment. We’ll keep you posted on this as Labor Day approaches,
Alibi readers.

News From District 28

Last week I had the awesome opportunity to meet
the Democratic candidate in the battle for the N.M. House of Representatives seat currently held by Jimmie Hall, a moderate Republican who’s been making the yearly trip to Santa since 2004.

Melanie Stansbury represents the practical public politics that could very likely turn this long time GOP outpost in the far NE Heights into a Democratic oasis. I say the district is an oasis because it so happens that District 28 is the house district in which I grew up, when we first moved to Burque in the late ’70s. Believe me, it’s a beautiful part of this town. It’s certainly arcadian, and with the Sandia Mountains’ wilderness as its eastern boundary, the neighborhood could make a great statement about Democratic affluence as opposed to Republican extravagance.

Just kidding. Stansbury has a platform that is dedicated to bettering lives of her constituents, regardless of political affiliation. And like many of the educated leader class that continues to trickle back to Burque post-grad school—to make a difference here,
por vida—she’s damned conversant, personable and intelligent. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one too, as Stansbury’s potential for election symbolically represents what we here at Weekly Alibi hope could be a coming trend.
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