Hoping people choose to find a better way

As I looked in the mirror this morning, I was disheartened, and the events of the world weighed heavily on my brow. My face was tired, and my eyes held sadness in them. It was a sadness born of watching hatred grow. Hatred, unwarranted and disgusting in its magnitude.

When I was putting the shaving cream on my head to shave, I was caught in a pause, a moment of clarity. I thought to myself, “It is probably best not to.” Then I had the moment. My thoughts were drawn to my teenage son, who has expressed his concern over being white. I know his struggle. I am 5’9” with blonde hair and blue eyes. I have pagan symbols tattooed on my body, and I typically shave most of my head because let’s face it, this is New Mexico and it’s hot. Plus with the balding, ya only get so many options. I would by some standards fit the bill to be lumped in with people I do not condone, and beliefs I do not support.

Now this is not a plea for sympathy, nor would I presume to put this plight on the same level as BLM, women’s rights, or LGBTQ rights. They face this on a sickening field of battle, against the worst of odds. It is still a part of the same problem. The same hatred. Getting back to my point, as I packed up my shaving supplies, inside I was wounded. I wondered how many people look at me in a day and make the wrong assumption. How many see a racist, a heart of hate, a dangerous person. I sympathize with communities at war right now. After the events of Charlottesville, I was at work in the East Mountains when I was spit on by a woman for the way I looked. It was a rude reminder. I had dealt with the Aryan jokes my whole life. People had already made that assumption based solely on my appearance, and current events have not helped it. We have become a world of labels, where people are judged by the actions of others.

To give perspective, I am a proud supporter of the BLM and women’s rights movements, and a very proud supporter of the LGBTQ community. They are my friends, family and tribe. I was raised in a household with two mothers. It was a wonderful childhood. I was taught understanding from a young age. School was a different matter. Now this was the mid-90s, and I was in elementary school. This is where I first encountered bigotry. Having lesbian mothers was not a “cool” thing at that time. It has been 30 damn years, and I still see and feel this battle still going on.

So long as you are not a hurtful or hateful person I accept you. Hatred and racism just cannot be tolerated, because it is choosing to be hateful. Just as it is a choice to be kind.

It breaks my heart to see the America of today, versus America the Dream. Until there is a major shift in the things people as a whole value, this war will never end. We all know this, and in some way accept it. That is systemic hatred. Doing nothing is an action. I’m not saying you have to protest. Make the difference with your children. Teach them love and acceptance, take away the hatred and bigotry. As a father I want my child to inherit a world of love. We can make the difference in the next generation.

With the presidential race in full, inglorious swing, things are getting worse, the divides deeper. It is insanity to watch—everywhere is hate. Blue, Red. It does not matter. They are all crazy. Normal people are backing people who don’t even know their names. Politicians have become celebrities and celebrities have become politicians. Each telling you a gilded story, while their hand is in the cookie jar.

So, if we cannot rely on them, then the change must come from us. We as a people must shift those values in our hearts towards something better. No more division, no more outdated beliefs of superiority or supremacy of one over another. If we found it in ourselves to dedicate as much time to progress as we do to division and hate, then the possibilities would be endless. These are things we all know. Under what we are taught, and the load of crap society feeds us, we have love in our hearts. I beseech you to challenge your thoughts of hate and division. Are they really yours? Were they fed to you from someone else? What real basis do you have, outside of answers like “that’s just how it is.”

I hope during this time of drastic change people, choose to find a better way. The way things are done have failed. I finish with a quote from a favorite author, and one time New Mexico resident, Daniel Quinn, “If the world is saved, it will not be saved by old minds with new programs but by new minds with no programs at all.”

Name withheld by request, Tijeras


On the stump for Liz Stefanics

With the eyes and ears of the public focused on the commotion of the national elections, we New Mexicans need to remember to be well-informed about those state and local candidates who are seeking our votes in this November election.

One outstanding state senate candidate deserves our attention and consideration. New Mexico has a hard-working Senator who is focusing her energies on protecting our most vulnerable citizens-our children and our elderly.

Liz Stefanics is that Senator. A competent, proven leader, Liz is working to ensure that New Mexicans have affordable, comprehensive healthcare such as reasonably priced prescription drugs. She is fighting for early childhood education and for schools to be fully funded, e.g. School-based Health Clinics Funding Act.

Liz is tireless in advocating for our rural communities and understands the goals and challenges of maintaining the acequias and our rural way of life. She promotes ways to grow our economy and to create well-paying jobs. Liz has the vision and passion to support emerging small businesses and to sponsor clean energy, e.g. Solar Energy Act.

Senator Liz Stefanics cares deeply for our state. Liz supports legislation that preserves New Mexico’s beautiful lands, clean air, and valuable water.

Liz Stefanics is an experienced legislator whose foresight and dedication are leading our state into a brighter future. We need to keep Liz serving in the New Mexico Senate.

Liz Stefanics represents New Mexico Senate District 39.

Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee, 

RN, MSN, US Navy Veteran, author

Santa Fe