Monday, February 1, 2016

NM As Federal Colony. Acoma Myth Continued

In December 2014, the Journal’s Win Quigley compared New Mexico to Equatorial Guinea.
In his January 31 Up Front column, he was back at it.
There is a photo of the Onate statue in Alcalde. The photo caption mentions, “Acoma Indians whose feet were amputated…” Thomas Chavez and John Kessell, two of our leading historians, both say that while the Spanish ordered amputation as punishment for opposing the Spanish, no evidence exists that the mutilation actually happened. Kessell’s point was that the Spanish were meticulous record keepers, but record exists of the actual amputation.
Sloppy. And perpetuating a myth of the evil Spanish.
More important, Quigley, without supporting evidence, writes “of our almost total dependence on federal energy and defense spending for what economic progress we did enjoy in the 20th century…”
To be sure, defense spending drove growth in the 1940s and 50s as the Bernalillo County population about doubled during each decade and others grew rapidly.
I’m not sure the meaning of “almost total dependence…”
But Quigley misses a few things, starting more than a century ago with art and tourism development by the Santa Fe Railway. Oil in Lea County starting in 1928. Potash in Lea and Eddy Counties. Skiing. Natural gas in San Juan County. Intel and other silicon wafer manufacturing. The Santa Fe Institute. St. John’s College.
Quigley worked for Digital Equipment Corp., a computer manufacturer. I guess he forgot that. Or maybe DEC, which came and went, doesn’t count as “economic progress.” The old DEC plant now houses a bunch of service businesses. While these businesses probably provide less value added than building computers, they are more than the pre-DEC value added, which was nothing.
Quigley says, “New Mexico, as a ward of Washington, in some ways remains a colony to this day,” just as under the Spanish. Quigley says New Mexico also was a colony of the United States. Wrong. New Mexico was a territory, something quite different.
But stealing the local’s land was the game after the Civil War. Today the results are “living history,” Quigley calls it, and “a nightmare.” Rampant victimhood is one result, I believe.
Quigley’s image of New Mexico as a “colony” suggests that we cower here under the lash of the federal government. Hardly.
Our federal scientific facilities do work around the world. They work with other labs (Are Argonne or Lawrence Livermore colonies?). Lab staff commute to Washington, D.C. and D.C. staff commute to New Mexico.

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