Letters to the editor (06/26/14)
TV less irritating than politics
Brace yourselves. Five months before the election, the cynical, smarmy flood of political ads has already begun, featuring Gov. Susana Martinez.
Raising more than $4 million on the out-of-state fundraiser circuit gave her an early start. Most of that cash will go to TV ads, with the side effects of (a) scaring local media away from critical reporting about the Martinez administration and (b) taking control of your TV set. One remedy is binge watching cable series from now until Nov. 4.
A million ads will tell us that Martinez sold the state jet years ago and that Bill Richardson was a terrible governor who should be indicted any decade now. However, if you want to live in the past, “Downton Abbey” is a better bet. The clothes are great, and Lady Mary can usually solve budget problems by marrying another rich guy instead of firing all her employees.
Unfortunately, Martinez’ ads for another term don’t mention any new solutions to New Mexico’s ranking at the bottom of every possible list during her tenure. “Game of Thrones” has a better plot arc since Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen learn new things about leadership with every episode. Besides, dire wolves and dragons are more appealing enablers than Jay McCleskey.
As for Martinez’ disaster areas — jobs, education, the Downs at Albuquerque, behavioral health services, minimum wages—it’s more heartening to watch the people of New Orleans rebuilding after Katrina on Treme. Or maybe watch “Orange Is the New Black.”
It’ll get worse. The billionaire Koch brothers plan to pour $300 million into U.S. races this election cycle. In New Mexico, some of that money will probably go to the Koch’s new LIBRE initiative, designed to teach Hispanics how to be Hispanic.
The Kochs’ notion of an improved Hispanic wants more tax cuts for bosses, lower wages for workers and women who “respect authority.” LIBRE ads should be a hoot, but if you want sublime TV featuring Hispanics, try that locally filmed masterpiece, “Breaking Bad.” Who can resist Gomie, Gustavo and Tio Salamanca?
And for bloody, vindictive, scorched-earth infighting among the powerful, you just can’t beat Rome.
In defense of students
In my decades of teaching, I have avoided the middle school like the proverbial plague, believing the horror stories of the bad attitude of seventh and eighth grade students.
However, after I began to substitute for Belen Schools in January, I agreed to take a middle school position. Envisioning myself stuffed into a locker by the end of the day, I approached the school with trepidation.
To my amazement and relieve, I was met with polite, friendly young people who often used the words “please,” “thank you,” “excuse me” and “have a nice day.”
When I had difficulty taking attendance in two classes because of laryngitis, female students in each of the classes quietly approached me and said, “Let me do that for you.”
One morning, as I hurried to class, I fell on the asphalt and gravel. Seven young men ran across campus to rescue me. One especially kind young man insisted on walking me to the nurse. Another morning, a young lady returned from her rest room break with wisteria blossoms for me, picked in the school yard.
To parents of BMS students, I can assure you that I saw teaching and learning going on, without the distraction of cell phones, and when the occasional student acted out, he or she was outnumbered by more mature classmates.
At the risk of embarrassing the young ladies and gentlemen with whom I worked, the three words I choose to describe them are “helpful,” “thoughtful” and “sweet.” I look forward to teaching at BMS this fall.