Thursday, December 1 2022

About 25 years ago, I learned that a person I know had taken out a $2,000 personal loan with an annual interest rate of several hundred percent. I was shocked to learn that usury is allowed in New Mexico. This person had good intentions of repaying the loan, but often could only make partial payments due to the large amount owed per scheduled payment. This, unfortunately, did not reduce their loan balance and amounted to giving free money to the lender for a seemingly perpetual loan. In this case, I was able to help the borrower. The excessive lending rate in New Mexico has been discussed by our legislature for many years now with little action to correct it. It’s time for them to do the right thing for the disadvantaged people in our communities who need their help. Please pass House Bill 132 this year and cap the interest rate.

Republican State Rep. Rod Montoya’s My View article (Jan. 30, “Progressive Values ​​Attempt to Divide Us”) suggests that the hyperpartisan political divide that infects state and national politics is a bad thing. Of course it is. But how does he bridge that gap by presenting it as a contest between white progressives and Latinos, as if no one with Latino heritage holds progressive views? How does it help to adopt the schoolyard taunt of conservative Republicans who refer to the Democratic Party as the “Democratic Party” and then complain about the use of the term “LatinX”?

Fortunately, there are more considered approaches to the depressing and seemingly intractable partisan divide. Congratulations to Senator Bill O’Neill, a Democrat from Albuquerque, whose one-act play, save the bees, reveals real-life friendships and a search for commonality between urban and rural lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans. And kudos to Senator Cliff Pirtle, a Republican from Roswell, whose relationship with O’Neill helped inspire the play, which was read on stage recently at Teatro Paraguas. Pirtle graciously answered questions from the audience after the play, displaying a wry sense of humor about the frustrations of being a member of the minority party in the Legislative Assembly.

What the piece suggested to me was that there is hope for the idealistic notion, that despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, we really are all in this together.

Teatro Paraguas, the little theater with a big heart, organized a remarkable theatrical event on the last weekend of January. State Senator Bill O’Neill wrote a one-act play, save the bees, which spanned three jam-packed performances, followed by a discussion with the actors and the two state senators who inspired the play – O’Neill represents Albuquerque (city) and Cliff Pirtle, Roswell (rural ) – and the play forcefully painted the political divisions plaguing us all in 21st century America. Compliments to everyone involved, director, actors, crew and the two senators (who participated in the discussions every evening).

It was the first night to give me hope that our political divisions might just be healed. The public later agreed that New Mexico would benefit from a statewide tour, to remind us as Americans of what we share without being “patriotic” on one side or the other. . It was especially remarkable that the house was only standing when the omicron still scared most of us (masked, of course).

Thanks to Rep. Rod Montoya for your excellent editorial (“Progressive Values ​​Tries to Divide Us,” January 30). Progressives are blind to the racism of their efforts to help marginalized people by using race, gender and sexual orientation to screen candidates for jobs, college, financial aid and Oscar trophies. The key book to read is by John McWhorter Racism Awakens: How a New Religion Betrayed Black America, about how anti-racism’s claim to dismantle racist structures is at the root of a new religion that harms black Americans. If you oppose racism, vote Republican.

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