Letters to the editor (10/10/13)

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Rio Abajo Festival was great
Editor:
On Saturday, Sept. 28, my family and I attended a Belen event held annually known as Rio Abajo (Becker Street Festival). It took place in the Heart of Belen and also two or three blocks down Becker Avenue.
We arrived around 12:30 p.m., ready to partake in the festivities. We soon joined other families who were also in hopes of sharing an enjoyable time. We were blessed with a beautiful day. The sun was shining bright and the temperature was just right for an outdoor family event.
When we arrived on the scene, there was already some great music coming from the stage area. Bleachers had been set up for visitors who could sit and enjoy live entertainment. Plenty of space was left available for anyone who may get the urge to move to the wonderful music.
Slightly away from the Heart of Belen and down Becker Avenue, there were a number of very shiny and impressive old show cars, each of which were, of course, accompanied by their proud and smiling owners/restorers. Many of these show cars are personally owned by Belenites, and it was easy to see that these folks feel tremendous pride and joy in the upkeep and display of their cars.
To add to this Becker street scene, there were a number of small canopies that were each housing various food and craft vendors, all in hopes of making some sales. It is our personal hope that the sales were fair for these group of folks, as they truly appeared to be happily participating and thereby contributing to the success of the annual event.
A number of local organizations were present, each of which had a table or two set up along Becker. Each table was monitored by informed volunteers who were involved in offering helpful information, conducting a raffle or simply visiting a familiar face.
We spent several hours at the festival. We want to say that we truly had an enjoyable time. The family that accompanied us for the day was born and raised in Belen, but now reside in Albuquerque. For them, the day was especially enjoyable, I believe, because they met many old friends and familiar faces.
Thank you to all the folks who worked hard to put this event together. We are grateful and truly appreciative.

Alfred and Theresa Padilla
Belen

It’s about equal rights
Editor:
July 19-20 marked the 165 anniversary of the Seneca Falls suffrage movement that, after 72 years of struggle, oppression and actual persecutions, women in the United States finally won the right to vote.
Presently, the full 165 years of women’s fought-for rights are under attack by a radical and authoritative segment of the Republican Party, especially in the states and the House of Representatives, wherein the Republicans have political control (just listen to their words, at times totally daffy, and their legislation efforts).
For the purpose of this writing, think of this same segment of the Republican Party as a conclave of political and religious, self-appointed cardinals, bishops, priests and monks, with a large hidden vestige of anti-democracy Christian Dominionists, who are not actually involved in a “war against women,” but are instead busy legislating a war against any woman’s claims for an individual right to personal sovereign autonomy, while such rights are unshakably claimed by those same Republican men, as absolute personal rights for themselves, and especially, against government legislated intrusion.
Today’s women should remember these words by Elisabeth Cady Stanton, almost 40 years into the American women’s struggle for something as simple as a woman’s right to vote, while considering just how much of the rights for hard won personal sovereign autonomy they want to surrender to the legislative power of a loud, radical political minority:
“In the early days of woman suffrage agitation, I saw that the greatest obstacle we had to overcome was the bible.  It was hurled at us on every side.  The ballot for woman was contrary to God’s holy ordinance. Woman was born to be submissive, subjective; she must be subservient to her husband in all things and at all times.”
These were the admonitions of pulpit and press.  (From a interview with the Chicago Record, June 29, 1887) Note, the line, “It was hurled at us on every side” begs the question today ― hurled by who?
Perhaps today’s elected radicals, mixing religion with politics, increasingly reminiscent of the 19th century’s political and religious oppressions and persecutions of women, can borrow a line from Jack Nicholson’s character in a horror movie, and shout to the nation’s women (and minorities), “I’m (we) are back!”
Listen closely to the Republican men’s constant, adamant claims of the right to and for personal sovereign autonomy and, yet according to those persistent voices, for the rights of women, those same personal liberties must be denied by legislation and the state.
Somehow I think, after women almost winning sovereign autonomy equal with men, that, in the near future, millions of American women of all ages will, being awakened by Republican, primarily male despotism, descend on Washington in numbers making the million man march seem miniscule, causing the final closing chapter of the modern, rightist/radical segment of the Republican Party and the anti-democracy movement of Christian Dominionism infiltrating those ranks.

Terry Mehaffey
Los Lunas