New Mexico’s evil history … (part 2)
August 12, 2020 |
See here for Part 1, and here for why I’m writing about New Mexico’s history and hostility to liberty.
Mexico’s legacy – its political and cultural DNA – continues to breed true, traced from Iberia and its 700 year fight for liberty against Islamic Moors, the Imperial Spanish regime of conquistadors and the papal missionaries. And it continues to be felt and make up part of the culture and political and social system which New Mexico endures even in 2020. (New Mexico’s state government differs in many ways from “standard” governments of most of the Fifty States.)
After Mexican independence from Spain and formation of a federal republic (which a very strong central government) in 1823, little really changed in the upper Rio Grande Valley and the rest of what is now the State of New Mexico.
Nuevo Mexico was as much under the direct control and authoritarian attitude of Ciudad Mexico as any other Mexican state or territory, including Tejas, Alta California, or, say, Nuevo Leon. There was a short, unsuccessful revolt (the Chimayo Revolt against Mexican taxation) in 1837, and Texas attempted to enforce its claim to the Rio Grande border with a brief invasion in 1841, but Ciudad Mexico (the Central Government, improperly called the “Federales”) remained in control.
Unlike Texas and California, New Mexico was a conquest of the US Army, and sold to DC after the Mexican-American War of 1845-1848. How is this critically different from Texas and California? There revolutions (led by but NOT entirely done by Anglo immigrants to Mexico) created briefly-independent republics which then were admitted to the Norte-Americano Union. Then, the influx of still more immigrants from the Union nearly overwhelmed the local culture and political system. Both Texas and California – even much of their Hispanic populations, welcomed admission to the Union.
New Mexico was different. It was conquered. Militarily and then in an economic sense. Actually, the economic conquest by the Norte-Americanos begin in 1821 with the establishment of the Santa Fe Trail for international commerce: the military invasion and occupation in 1846 sped up the economic conquest.
Although there were a few revolts or rebellions by ethnic Spanish (Mexican) and metizo New Mexicans in the 1840-1860s, most New Mexicans (including the Pueblo towns) quickly accepted rule by Washington and even helped fight against a Confederate invasion. However, the Dineh (Navajo) and Inde (as the Apache now identify themselves) fought against Americans as much as they had against Spanish and Mexico governments. As did the various other tribes (Ute, Comanche, Kiowa, Cheyenne) who raided the settlements. This led the Hispanic New Mexicans to accept and continue the same attitude of centralized government, military dominance, and authoritarianism.
Anglo-American settlement was primarily in the eastern and southeastern Plains, the northwest corner, and along the Santa Fe Railroad (Albuquerque especially), but Hispanic culture remains strong. And overall, Anglo-American settlement was not really significant until late in the 1800s and even early 1900s. The Southeast and Eastern portions of New Mexico (Hobbs, Roswell, Clovis, Portales, Clayton are culturally part of Texas (the Panhandle and the Permian) and not really like the Rio Grande Valley or the Pueblo and other AmerInd areas. And the Northwest (in the Four Corners), while influenced by the Navajo (Dineh), is another Anglo-American enclave, developed mostly by the discovery and development of oil and gas resources. Albuquerque, although with significant non-Hispanic and non-Pueblo populations and military impact, still is as “Hispanic” a society as, say El Paso. Its problems are compounded by the fact that it is a major American urban area, with all that implies. Its police are often brutal, its institutions suspect, and it has all the identity politics of most major American cities.
New Mexico has not just an unusual governmental system, but a very unusual society. But its culture is deeply rooted in both “Old Mexico” and Spain, and 500+ years of history in the Americas and 700+ years before that in Europe. Authoritarian, monarchic in many ways, centralized, and strongly traditional.
Lujan-Gresham is a product of, and takes advantage of, that culture. Her actions upon her election, and especially during the Pandemic Panic, demonstrate her biases, her preferences for control, and even her shock at being defied. (I cannot speak of her corruption or lack thereof, simply pointing out that she is tied to a former Democratic governor, Bill Richardson, generally seen as very corrupt and important in the Bill Clinton administration in the 1990s.)
But it is no wonder that she is running a dictatorship and that many people in her state compare her to fascist dictators, and the State Police as Gestapo and more.
New Mexico’s history is not a pleasant one, and the government (and attitudes) which exists as a result is nasty, even in an era when State governments of many of the Fifty States have demonstrated the depths of their depravity.
People like Kent McManigal and others working hard for liberty in New Mexico, even in its fringe areas like Eastern and Northwestern New Mexico, deserve our respect and our support. They face a much more difficult task than those of us in the Dakotas or Wyoming or Idaho.