As the Fourth of July approaches, especially given what’s occurring now regarding Black justice, a bit of reflection is timely.
Two representative icons of the United States are the Statue of Liberty and the American flag. Our flag is commemorated in verse and song in “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key. Ironically, Key, a slave owner, penned the words “the land of the free” in this anthem while inspired by a battle with the British, who freed 6,000 slaves during this war.
The Statue of Liberty is popularly considered as a symbol of welcoming immigrants (what a concept). However, the original concept envisioned in the 1860s by French poet and antislavery activist Edouard de Laboulaye was that France gift this monument to the United States to celebrate both the Union victory in the Civil War and the abolition of slavery.
I mention these historical facts not to rain on our national birthday. We have many things to be proud of in the United States, but we must remember and acknowledge all of our history if we are to flourish as a country. As we celebrate our nation’s birthday, many of us will have the opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Take a moment to think about what you are saying and please recommit yourself to the principle embodied in the words. “with liberty and justice for all.”
A positive step
We watch a lot of travel programs on TV, especially Rick Steves. When discussing pedestrian-only zones in the world’s great cities, Steves almost always states that the move to pedestrian only was widely resisted at first and then became a “Why didn’t we do this years ago?” conversation.
To make it work, we would need adequate and convenient parking within reasonable walking distance. We view driving around the Plaza area during tourist season as a failure in planning.
Congratulations to Daniel J. Chacón for his research and exposition of the present state of New Mexico culture (“Activists protesting controversial statues turn focus to Santa Fe Plaza obelisk,” June 18).
The two principle figures of his article — Elena Ortiz and Gary Delgado — appear to be at cross-purposes; the Spanish conquest of New Mexico having taken place for political, civil, religious and cultural motives. Yet the New Mexico governor, Bernardo Lopez de Mendizabal (1559-1561) was the first governor of the 1600s in New Mexico to have recognized the legitimacy of the “Catcinas” of the Indian communities of New Mexico.
Hand ’em out
Masks on the Plaza! For the folks who did not bring their masks from out of state (or in state, too), why not hand out brightly colored yellow masks with a roadrunner on it that says, “MeepMeep Be Safe” as a token of good will, or as a souvenir of our great state. P
erhaps folks would like to purchase a cloth one too. They might enjoy wearing a mask from the Plaza.
Mask up, enjoy city
A proposed notice from Mayor Alan Webber to Santa Fe visitors: “Welcome to Santa Fe, our extraordinarily beautiful ‘City Different,’ our city of ‘Holy Faith.’ We love sharing it with you as well. We do ask your cooperation with our rules, one being the wearing of masks during this deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The mask protects you as well as keeps you from infecting those within 8 feet of you, called social distancing. A life-or-death situation, true as it is, is difficult for all of us to comprehend.
“Please go to our Visitor Center, present this message, receive a free mask for all in your party, instructions on wearing and a small token for each of you in appreciation of your cooperation in saving lives. And, after it all: Enjoy Santa Fe.”
Hardly a militia
A recent editorial (“The state must act on police reform, militia threat,” Our View, June 18) references the U.S. Constitution and refers to the gun-carrying people at recent protests as members of the militia. The militia is referenced in the Constitution as being organized, armed, disciplined and called for by Congress; under the command of the president; and with officers appointed by the state and trained by the state.
These people who show up at protests meet none of these criteria and should not be referred to as militia. Please use more appropriate titles and do not infer legitimacy.