New Mexicans’ Earth First and Black Athletes Against Racism

By: Bill Whaley
24 September, 2017

On Tuesday, Sept. 19, New Mexicans and Taosenos rallied at the Taos Fly Shop on Paseo Pueblo Sur to reassert their opposition to Trump’s agent provocateur, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s report on the Rio Grande National Monument. According to a variety of spokesmen for the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, the “secret” report was filled with “lies” about support for the monument. Contrary to Zinke’s assertions, “99.97%” of respondents supported the preservation and protection of “traditional” practices: grazing, hunting, firewood gathering.

As noted, during Zinke’s recent visit to New Mexico, he travelled no closer than Las Vegas-San Miguel County and, according to Wild Lifers, refused to meet with Taosenos who support the Monument. According to the record, an unprecedented number of community wide organizations support the Monument, including Taos County, the Town of Taos, Questa, Taos County Chamber of Commerce, as well as individual sportsmen and women, visitors and locals from every walk of life.

Speakers at the event said that Secretary Zinke’s promise not to reduce the Monument in size was undermined by policies that would change the definition of “traditional” use to include “logging,” “mining,” and “drilling” practices despite the absence of those resources. Speakers speculated that Tri-State Generation and Transmission would be encouraged to build a 230 KV transmission lines through the area, disturbing management of the fishing and migration patterns of wildlife, including bears, cougars, deer, antelope, and as many as 10,000 elk that winter in the area.

“They want increased access so they can drive up to the edge of the Gorge and shoot bighorn sheep,” said a spokesman.

Among others, former Mayor of Questa, Esther Garcia noted the admonitions of her grandfather to preserve the land and protect the water. Current Town Councilman and unannounced candidate for mayor, Darien Fernandez repeated the mantra of the Monument supporters: “Keep your hands off our lands.” A representative of Senators Heinrich and Udall handed out posters and postcards. “We need public participation,” said the Wildlife representatives.

The impromptu gathering of Taosenos and New Mexicans were rewarded by chile and cheeseburgers, grilled to tasty perfection by Johnny MacArthur who was pressed into service, while his partner Pam, the horsewoman, discussed the issues with Monument supporters at the portable picnic tables.

Black Athletes Lead the Revolution

Trump the Tweeter recently referred to anthem protester Colin Kaepernick as a “son of a bitch,” and insulted NBA players by withdrawing an invitation to the White House, which they didn’t want. In turn Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James called Trump a “bum” and Buffalo Bills’ LeSean McCoy referred to Trump as an “asshole.” Chris Paul president of the NBA player’s association, said, “I doubt he’s man enough to call any of those players a son of a bitch to their face.”

Inspired by my fellow alum at the University of Nevada Reno and the former 49er Colin Kaepernick, I bought one of the last NFL-49er jerseys available from No. 7’s career. The jersey is size Extra Extra Large and a fitting tribute to the man’s moral courage. I’d like to donate it to a worthy cause.

From MLB’s Jackie Robinson and Curt Flood to Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali, to Olympians Tommy Lee and John Carlos to the NFL’s Colin Kaepernick and now the NBA’s Lebron James and the Warrior’s Steph Curry, there’s a long line of Black athletes engaged in active resistant to the Plantation mentality of White overseers in the Sports World.

Recently Ta-nehisi Coates wrote a succinct essay in The Atlantic about Trump as “The First White President.” Coates,’ who can be seen as a successor to James Baldwin’s timeless essays on race and repression, collates the data that implicates the majority of white American voters in the attempt to undo the Obama presidency. Here are Coates’ findings:

“So when white pundits cast the elevation of Trump as the handiwork of an inscrutable white working class, they are being too modest, declining to claim credit for their own economic class. Trump’s dominance among whites across class lines is of a piece with his larger dominance across nearly every white demographic. Trump won white women (+9) and white men (+31). He won white people with college degrees (+3) and white people without them (+37). He won whites ages 18–29 (+4), 30–44 (+17), 45–64 (+28), and 65 and older (+19). Trump won whites in midwestern Illinois (+11), whites in mid-Atlantic New Jersey (+12), and whites in the Sun Belt’s New Mexico (+5). In no state that Edison polled did Trump’s white support dip below 40 percent.”

Warning to White People

Today white racism can be seen not only as the historic sin of capitalism but also as a message from the elite masters to the hoi polloi. Big Medicine and Big Pharma are transforming the white working class into drug addicts, just as college loans are turning college students into indentured servants. The ongoing attempt to withdraw access to health care from the middle and lower classes contradicts notions of alleged Christian compassion and subverts the principles in the Declaration of Independence. While the elite make war on the lower classes, the virus of capitalism spreads to the natural world as the “deniers,” despite floods and hurricanes, refuse to admit that suicidal climate policies threaten the planet at large and the Rio Grande National Monument at home here in Taos.

History Speaks

During the Vietnam era I used to ask myself: “Why do the Americans wage war on the Vietnamese abroad and want to kill their own younger generation at home?” The American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, who opposed slavery and the Mexican-American war that included collateral genocidal policies aimed at Native Americans, summarizes political realities in his tragic social commentary: “The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion.”

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