Last night I had the strangest dream. I dreamt I saw the ghosts of the Colonial patriots who had died in the Revolutionary War floating over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, looking down at Santa Fe.

Their curiosity of what had become of the nation they gave their lives to create had sent them on a road trip West. I invited them down for some tea. We talked about many things, but mostly about what had been gained from giving their young lives for the cause of a new concept of governance and freedom — democracy. A system where the majority decided who would represent them to make and enforce laws for the betterment of all.

It was sadly difficult to talk with my new friends as the unpleasant and disruptive rage of motorcycles, screaming mufflers, blasting music and roaring engines continually interrupted the evening air and tranquility on my patio. Naturally, these new friends were impressed with the power of the internal combustion engine.

They had many questions of course, but the biggest one was if there was still a government, a government for and by the people — a government these patriots had been inspired enough to die to create, one of majority rule and a set of laws to protect the rights of all. They said it was obvious to them that a very small number of loud, uncontrolled, unrestrained individuals were destroying the quiet enjoyment of the majority of the people.

I said their deaths had not been in vain because after their ultimate sacrifices for freedom, there would be written into the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution the commitment that the government would “insure domestic tranquility” for its citizens.

But one of those damn Yankees just wouldn’t let it go and wanted an explanation of what had happened, and I was at a loss to answer that question. Then, suddenly, a quiet descended over the town, a few moments of peace not heard in Santa Fe for years. The silence was strange and eerie, as if a higher spirit had given us a reprieve from the out-of-control madness of a broken system, a system that had acquiesced to several hundred citizens’ perceived right to break speed and noise laws and ordinances with impunity.

For that tranquil moment, I looked out over the town I had known for 50 years and nostalgically remembered what it had been like to sleep with my windows open at night, to sit outside in the early morning with coffee and The New Mexican, or in the evening with my family and friends. I awoke with a start at about 1 in the morning. I lay there sadly following the ridiculously selfish antics of one person’s car roaring down Alameda, around Paseo, up Old Taos Highway. I realized my dream was actually just the same old nightmare of living in a town devoid of a government willing to take on the solemn job of ensuring the domestic tranquility of its citizens, so I got down on my knees and prayed we would someday elect leaders strong enough to do this job.

Joe Schepps is president of the Inn on the Alameda and a 50-year Santa Fe resident.

(2) comments

Stefanie Beninato

Loved the structure of your essay, Joe. But do you really think V-C is going to take care of the noise problem? She is the one who hails these loud offensive drivers as part of the cruising culture. Having lived here for over 46 years, I can say that in previous years, cruisers cruised--they were interested in having people admire the car and its ability to dance--now it is just loud look at me...Have you heard anything concrete from anyone as to how they will solve this problem? NO

KC Garrett

People easily agree that city government should promote residents’ health and safety. Yet, we’ve had three years of impotent city government when it comes to correcting the problems you describe. The general crime problem is compounding as well. And there are 30+ vacancies in the city police department.

City government is laser-focused on boosting the city population. We should focus on the election and our own vote. Mayor and City Councilor terms of office are four long years in duration.

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for joining the conversation on Please familiarize yourself with the community guidelines. Avoid personal attacks: Lively, vigorous conversation is welcomed and encouraged, insults, name-calling and other personal attacks are not. No commercial peddling: Promotions of commercial goods and services are inappropriate to the purposes of this forum and can be removed. Respect copyrights: Post citations to sources appropriate to support your arguments, but refrain from posting entire copyrighted pieces. Be yourself: Accounts suspected of using fake identities can be removed from the forum.