My fellow Americans, during this time of consciousness-raising regarding monuments erected in the name of conquest, oppression, racism and inhumanity, why not look to the southern border? There sits the Trump Monument, erected with our taxpayer dollars, to oppression and unlawful incarceration of immigrants and their children — a brazen banner of hatred in steel.
Lucia Ortiz y Garcia
President Donald Trump, you’ve betrayed America since the beginning of your first campaign.
You’ve lied, you’ve enriched yourself at our expense, you’ve actively worked to sabotage our democracy, you’ve dedicated yourself to perpetuating a system that is killing our fellow Americans. You’ve sacrificed over 100,000 lives with your incompetence during a pandemic and showed yourself willing to sacrifice more for a rally to boost your ego.
That’s just to name a few of your actions. You are the embodiment of American evil. Donald Trump, I charge you with treason. I charge you with treason because the Justice Department is too afraid to. I charge you with treason because the Senate is too afraid to. I charge you with treason because you are guilty of it.
John Paul Donoghue
Wear a mask
Welcome back, visitors!
No bienvenidos. Adiós!
Accurate, not demeaning
The issue with monuments, for me at least, is a monument is supposed to be a historical testimony to a person or event. However, in many people’s mindset, it’s not a historical reminder of an event but an idol to be worshiped and bowed down to. History is history. If a battleground somewhere must be commemorated or remembered as a historical event, then let it be so.
But if the flag/plaque/statue/monument becomes an idol, then there’s a problem. When the object of devotion is looked upon as an idol, then it is worshiped instead of the event or circumstance being remembered for what it was in history. The important thing is that the commemoration of said object be historically accurate and not demeaning or perverted to that which it is supposed to represent.
I was horrified and appalled to read about the attack at the India Palace. I don’t know what else to say, except I was hoping Santa Fe would be different. Who are these attackers? Where do they come from? What must we do to stop this hateful behavior? Why did it take police three hours to arrive, two blocks from the Plaza?
Honor the heroes
No one gets to choose the circumstances of the race or culture in which they are born and raised. Dialogue between races and their cultures is the first step towards social justice. The historical circumstances of inequality, cultural disrespect and cruelties cannot be undone.
They can be acknowledged and reconciled by all those interested. A good first step would be to repurpose the obelisk on the Santa Fe Plaza with several plaques sharing contributions of war from veterans of diverse cultural heritage. Perhaps a list of New Mexican Medal of Honor winners and their stories, or Code Talkers and their stories (Miguel Trujillo comes to mind.) The fascists of World War II did not prevail because of men and women from all cultural heritages and their willingness to give their lives, if necessary, to stop them. If they had, I would not be writing these words today. Why not repurpose the Santa Fe Plaza obelisk to honor them?
Stephen E. Hauf
Don’t just toss ’em
For those of us who are trying to “flatten the curve” by wearing masks when outdoors (and indoors such as at grocery stores), thank you. For those of you who think it’s OK to drop them all over the damn place, stop it! They’re all over; along the Alameda, in the Railyard District; around the state Capitol building; in grocery store parking lots, residential neighborhoods, bike trails extending southward. This is not acceptable!
If you take your mask off, find a trash can and dispose of it. If you can’t find a trash can, fold it up, put it in your pocket and dispose of it when you get home. Discarded masks all over town are not only unsightly and create litter, they’re a biohazard. Are you 3 years old? You know better.
Seize the moment
The massive changes of both the universal effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and now the profound new awareness to mend racial bias is a new opportunity to find an artistic expression that honors and respects the values of inclusion and sacredness. I have waited many years for the moment when Santa Fe might aspire to see a monument in the Plaza that reflects what we love about the region in which we have chosen to live.
The Native cultures through their ancient ceremonies have held, practiced, and taught this wisdom and help maintain its sacredness for all of us. Our relationship with the Earth and sky is part of the story. The Spanish instantly recognized this land as a haven for nurturing their future. Anglos, and others, come here sensing something deep, indescribable, and yet recognizable for which we long. This is what a sculpture can express and thereby transcend the endless tribal issue of determining just which history or heritage to portray.
I hope the city will sponsor a contest for regional artists to submit entries for consideration with this theme in mind. This is a powerful opportunity for Santa Fe to set a new vision through art of how to take this extraordinary moment in this time of transformation to rise above polarized, political rhetoric that can only prolong a sense of racial division. It’s time for a dimensional shift.
Jean MacFarland Altshuler, artist
Accept the past
Santa Fe, the City Different as it is called, is in the process of changing its character. The city, when mentioned to most Easterners, evokes a few typical responses. “Oh! I hear Santa Fe is so unusual in many ways, for its beautiful variety in its art and culture. It’s a center of diversity with a history representative of the great Southwest.” Much of Santa Fe’s history is little known to Easterners, most of whom have never heard of Oñate, de Vargas or Carson. The traveler who comes to Santa Fe is impressed to find a richness of history and culture commemorated in our many museums and galleries dedicated to this colorful past. The visitor also sees celebrations of our accomplishments for the future.
The fact that many symbols of our past have been defaced and/or destroyed, makes us poorer and for me, ashamed. Are we frightened to look upon the past with pride for the present? Do statues and commemorative symbols create bigotry and intolerance? Do we not have the enlightenment to overcome the prejudices of previous centuries? Santa Fe should embrace its future by accepting its past. We know better. We should not be afraid.
As usual, the mayor refuses to take action on a problem until money starts to complain (“Santa Fe police launch operation to quiet car noise downtown,” June 24). Residents have been complaining for weeks about the loud vehicles around town. Yet not until the hotel owners complain it is disturbing their guests does he decide to do something about it. Again he shows his disdain for the regular citizens. The mayoral election is still two years away, but not too far away to start thinking about his repeated ignorance of us.
If you have to close a street near the Plaza, try the Red Bank, N.J., blueprint: This city closed its main street so that the restaurants in the area could move their tables and chairs onto the street and serve meals to its residents and guests. My daughter told me it is a popular spot. By closing some streets, Santa Fe could do the same to help the local restaurants and hopefully help bring in more tourists. For example, roughly 15 restaurants are on or near Washington Avenue.
After several days, it could be moved to San Francisco Street, which also has around 15 or so restaurants. Water Street is another example, or even De Vargas Center, which has about nine to 10 food venues — or the Plaza itself, for use by several restaurants. Other areas, like Guadalupe Street, could also be considered for closing the street for several days. Or have meals served on the sidewalks outside the restaurants, like Plaza Café. Just trying to point out possible opportunities.