Sunday, April 08, 2012


The Organs and Churubusco
The San Patricio Effect
By Stephen L. Wilmeth
            Today, Christianity celebrates the most sacred of holy days … Easter.
            To refer to this day as a holiday seems inappropriate. It isn’t or at least it shouldn’t be a day of festive flair. It is a day of most profound sacredness.
            HE has risen … HE has risen indeed!
            The Case of Easter   
            There is no season of the Christian Year that mirrors the parallel of the state of our world as does Easter. Within three days, the fulcrum of emotion has swung from utter despair to the promise of … everything.
            On Friday, Jesus was crucified on the cross at Calvary. He had forewarned of the most incredible series of events continuously and repeatedly leading up to that day. His forewarning had been preceded by the same reminders of the Prophets, and, yet, the shock and horror of the event of crucifixion rattled the faith and the senses of more than just the Believers.
            Nothing more raw and evil could have been conceptualized for the underlying message intended for the Christians that day. Humiliate him publicly, break his legs with a hammer in order to position his body for the act, hold him down and drive nails through his hands and feet, and then raise him for all to witness his monumental suffering had the desired effect. It was profound and ultimate degradation.
            “That’ll teach those people to honor and worship something other than prevailing popular causes and political correctness!”
            After Christ was removed from the Cross and prepared for burial dignity, the shock of the event set in for those in attendance. We can only imagine their mounting horror.
            Saturday must have been a day void of anything meaningful. Nothing made sense. Deep, dark despair engulfed those impacted, but something was about to change. That something was so profound and unpredictable that our words remain insignificant, understated, and underwhelming. What we know is that the world would forever be changed. 
            On Sunday, this day in remembrance … He had arisen!
            He has arisen indeed!
            The March to Churubusco
            There are too few Americans … perhaps human beings that stand in sharp contrast to the propensity to join in the fight against a true underdog. In the spirit of this day, it will be suffice to say a particular military leader remained resistant to most human tendencies to elevate his self interests into his profession. That is so rare that leaving his name unsaid and immersed in the sanctity of this day is complimentary to his memory. His actions were commendable and must equate to the foundational teachings of Christianity.
            He was an engineer by training, but his talent was observation and the application of resulting logic. He believed in the spirit and actions of free and independent men. He believed in God.
            When he observed mistreatment and condescension of actions directed at members of the Catholic Church within the ranks of his government and his army as well as the ranks of the Mexican army foes he was appalled. There were more foundational foes to fight than picking that fight and making it an issue.
            He came to the conclusion that the prejudice was structural, but it was exacerbated and elevated by none other than Washington politics. The most divisive influence came from the conflict between the President with his coterie of political influences standing in stark contrast against his commanding officer. It was a classic divided house. It is a house modern America knows only too well.
            From the banks of the Rio Grande to the Halls of Montezuma, the fallout escalated.
            The San Patricio Effect
            Escaping the horrors of the Potato Famine, the Irish immigrants in the American army sought a home in every measure of the word and idea. When they found no literal or figurative sanctuary in their new world, they turned to the only retreat they had … the Catholic Church.
There was no tripartite alternative of God, family and country for them. There became only God and those Catholic boys decided their guns were not going to be used against any Catholic brothers. At least with such brethren there would be some degree of commonality, unity, and understanding.
They deserted and fought for the only cause that seemed to matter. For years, the outcome was a huge and guarded blemish on the American Army. The deserters fought symbolically for the Catholic Church. The army of sanctuary became the Mexican Army, but it could have been … and should have been their first choice, the American Army.
Many, many Americans are feeling the same dilemma today. In every corner, they are failing to sense any measure of respect for their existence. They have played the game as they perceived the rules. They have defended their belief in God, family, and country, and yet the actions of their government are eroding hope and long standing promises.
As history will remind us, mistreatment and condescension of foundational mores always results in push back. God fearing men hammered enough will face the challenge and their actions will be not be predicated on some ribbon worn around their wrist or message on a T shirt. It will come from their heart.
The Environmental Front
Once again, there is another pincer movement in Dona Ana County, New Mexico to declare off limits the greater mix of historical human endeavors on federal lands. In a county that already suffers from the restrictive dominion of federal land ownership, 35% of those federal lands and an unstated mix of state and private lands are being packaged into a National Monument proposal. The proposal is being postured to make an end run around congressional action by taking it directly to the President for administrative action.
The effort is not new. It has come to life in at least four separate attempts. The most recent three attempts have included an increasing footprint of acreages from 118,000 acres, to 400,000 acres, and, most recently, to more than 600,000 acres.
It should be noted that each time the effort has been mounted, the publicity framed by the NGOs formulating the action has suggested wide ranging public support. Newspapers, radio spots, television commercials, and purchased public appeal all present a rosy, cheerful attempt to save these lands. Save these lands?
The line has been drawn once more, but it is interesting to note the continuing theme. There is not a known backer of the effort who actually has duties, responsibilities, and or investments on these lands.
More importantly, not a single individual who is affected as such was given the courtesy to participate. The full measure of the news came in a landslide of unexpected news releases.
Interestingly, the defining legal qualification of a national monument has yet to be divulged. National Monuments are predicated on a single purpose and they are limited in scale to define that purpose. What does 600,000 acres in four locations in one county in southern New Mexico seek to define? If it is the Organ Mountains … which everyone can agree upon … why does the most expansive portion of the plan lie well beyond the only talking point?
Congress promised in legislation the privilege of coordination of matters of local planning. The breach and manipulation of that promise is again glaring and orchestrated. It was wrong prior to Buena Vista and it is equally wrong again in southern New Mexico.
Acknowledgements and the Value of History
There is a lingering awkwardness felt in these hands on this keyboard this morning. To mix the purity of Easter with the ugliness of our world is fundamentally troubling. For any offense, please accept all necessary apologies.
Those of us in the crosshairs of this action, though, have grown to assume the matter of prejudice and condescension cast our way by too many of our elected officials and agency managers is automatic. To us, that is troubling beyond all comprehension.
Across these lands are remnants of every measure of the concept of Historical Value. Each has become part of the fabric of the landscape and the key to all models of future natural system management, and, yet, we are under siege. It is little wonder that New Mexico now has the oldest body of land stewards in the nation.
Like the San Patricio Battalion, we are also human. In the constant assault on our existence and our industry, we, too, seek sanctuary. We feel most aligned with the rare leader who is not intimidated by and believes in the actions of free and independent men.
Lastly and forever, we have no qualms of proclaiming our belief in our Christian faith and … our Lord and Savior.
HE has risen … HE has risen indeed!

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico and has recently learned his endeavors are under the footprint of a newly proposed national monument. “Lord, God in your mercy … hear our prayer.”

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