The Latino Life

Where is my country? I cannot find it!

I have broken my promise to be a contributor to this site and write essays on issues of importance to our community, our state, and our country.

Mea Culpa – my bad.

As I get closer in my quest to shed most of my community activities and get closer to full retirement, I now find myself with the time to do more writing as I sit and ponder on the “why” and the “what” of it all.

Here is an article that I was preparing back in May of this year, but set it aside for completion later, and of course, later never came. There references are still pertinent today, especially in light of the attempts by Congress to pass meaningful legislation in the light of mounting opposition based solely on partisan grounds, not what is good for the country, but what is good for “me” and my “party”. Sad

Anyway – please take a look and then comment – good or bad – but please keep it clean, this is a family show.

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05-19-2021 Contradictions in my lifetime.

It is no wonder that so many people are confused and searching for the elusive “something” that can provide the peace of mind that they are missing in their lives.

As I walk through my daily activities, I see contradictions everywhere, especially in politics. Even a quick look through the newspaper becomes an exercise in futility looking for real news and information. I jokingly refer to The El Paso Times as “USA Today Lite” on the Border because of its thinly veiled news sections.

I really need to take the time to have a formal class in logic, if for no other reason that for my own sanity.

Take for example the report of a new “smart meter” program being developed by the El Paso Electric Company. Ostensibly, this master program will induce efficiencies into our electrical systems in west Texas and New Mexico. It will only cost $157 Million dollars over 12 years and the rate payers – us’ns – will pay for $130 Million of that with a rate surcharge during the 12 years. Ain’t it grand? We will pay to help the electric company make a more efficient system so they can make more money.

I know, that makes me look just a tad cynical, but hey, that’s the way that I see the world. Having a pocket full of skepticism and a healthy dose of cynicism helps keep me on an even keel most of the time.

One of the efficiencies being noted in the article will be the ability to monitor the usage of electricity in the grid and adjust the rate structure. Sounds like code to me for offering discounts to entice commercial users to switch peak demand to a lower rate. The homeowner in this scenario wins how, exactly?

Normal reporting on issues such as these is usually a little thin, but today we were treated to a full half page, describing the new program. Now if we could get a full page on important issues like this to help us understand the details. Remember my skepticism? The devil is in the details, eh?

The House of Representatives is behaving a little neurotic nowadays. The entire world saw the events of January 6, 2021 as they unfolded in living color on global television. Cell phone cameras got a real workout that day as videos went viral. Hyped-up crowds screaming for the death of elected officials, defiling the capitol building. It was a sad day for our country.

And yet, the senior leader in the Senate, Mr. Mitch McConnell is reported as “pushing the pause button” on legislation to create a commission to investigate the who, what, when, how, and the why of what actually happened that day. It seems that the republican caucus is “undecided” about whether or not a commission is needed. Really? That was another half page of news. It was a clip from an Associated Press Report. I can only wonder what the full report from the AP contained.

In my attempt to read between the lines and discern the reason for the reluctance of the Republicans to support the commission’s inquiry, I saw a glimmer of light – an on-line AP version of the report indicated that “many Republicans say the commission should only be established if it can investigate other violent acts, including protests last summer in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd”. That was an “Aha” moment for me. Looked like code for investigating Black Lives Matter as a group.

There was also a side-bar report that some members of the House of Representatives were “fearful”. One member, a combat Veteran, was present while the crowd tried to breach the House Chamber and is now experiencing PTSD from his days in combat. Listening to an angry crowd attempting to breach the Chamber and calling for the death of elected leaders would certainly traumatize me.  

Members report that they are fearful for their safety, as threats against Representatives have increased since January 6. All this at the same time that Republican House and Senate members are standing against the requirement to wear masks while in their respective chambers. Fake news I guess, the C-19 threat is not real. Only sick people and old people are dying. The mask is an infringement on their liberties.

These are our elected representatives and are our de facto leaders. The news reporters should be able to give us a sense of the House and the Senate and the deliberations that are taking place every day in our capitol. Instead, we get these snippets of news. We deserve better.

I remember as a child learning to skip a rock across water. Our news reports are sort of like that, just skipping over the highlights and never getting into the heart of an issue. Oh, we complain that major news sources are biased to the left or to the right, but when I see the depth of reporting in the Los Angeles Times, or the New York Times, and the Washington Post, I wonder why we cannot see the same information here along the border.

When the cyber world began expanding in the mid 1990’s , you could read newspaper articles on-line from every major newspaper in Texas and get a sense of the issues important to Texans. Nowadays, everything is pay-as-you-go, and you can no longer get a sense of what is happening around the state or the country without spending your life savings. We now have to rely on whatever snippets of information that the news sources deign to give us.

Texas is a big state, and one size does not fit all. As Texans, we pride themselves on the diversity of the geography of our state – The Hill Country, the Lower Rio Grande Valley, the Big Thicket in East Texas, and the open plains of the Panhandle, contrast starkly with the high deserts and mountains of west Texas. As a Yankee living in Texas, when someone mentions “back east”, I think of Washington, New York, or Boston, you know, the east coast. When El Pasoans mention “back east”, they mean Dallas-Fort Worth or Houston.

The politics of Texas is as varied as the landscapes. Even right here in River City ( that’s a reference to a Broadway play and movie from back in the day). We sure do spend a lot of taxpayer money, and then, we complain on how it is spent. We want low taxes, but we want better roads and more amenities at our parks and libraries and recreation centers. We complain at the city or the county’s use of Certificates of Obligation and our debt service while we, the voters, approve the issuances of bonds for better quality of life. We want it all now, but can we afford it all now? Do we need it all now?

There is more of course, there is always more … sin fin …

Categories: The Latino Life