Culture has changed


I found Mr. Biden’s most recent speech to the nation refreshing. He finally called out his enemy — me!

My issues started with President Clinton. His infamous “it depends on what your definition of “is” is,” changed my political life.

I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s when the culture was changing rapidly. I was too busy growing up that I didn’t clearly notice the changes.

The culture had changed in front of my eyes. I didn’t know what to make of it. Confusion set in. I knew that in the Hispanic culture only God came before family. Now even this was not true. Families were breaking down.

In my Catholic parish in Ohio, nuns were no longer wearing their habits but street clothes. They no longer looked like nuns. A young priest gave up his holy vocation to marry a teacher in my parish grade school. The young nuns were also giving up their vocation.

I am a first-generation American on my mom’s side and second-generation on my dad’s side. My grade school parish mainly was Irish, I quickly assimilated as my father wanted. I was an American. In the 1970s I was a proud Democrat. I had been told that you needed blue eyes and white hair to be a Republican.

The Obama era opened my eyes. I suffered economically during his stewardship and was culturally shocked at the evil his new policies brought forth. Things that I knew were wrong were now right. Political correctness had become the norm.

Today, I know better. I know paying $1.94 instead of $3.31 a gallon for gas is better. I know paying $11 for an 8 pound bag of frozen chicken wings is better than paying $30. I learned something was wrong when I couldn’t find 45 ACP ammo locally.

I know boys don’t belong in girls’ locker rooms or bathrooms. I know boys should not compete in girls’ sports. I know a boy is a boy and a girl is a girl. I know evil when I see it.

I am glad to be on the opposite side of the fence from Mr. Biden. Nov. 8 will be a tremendous battle of good versus evil. Make sure you vote in person.

Daniel Garza, Los Lunas

A tale of two parties


Last week, at a party, our table was discussing retirement communities and their amenities (pools, party rooms, security) as well as their downsides (mostly the expense, location, and fees).

I related a story my aunt told a group of us about having a “designated handyman” for the widows and single women on her block, but was immediately challenged by someone who said, “Well, that’s not true, I live there, that is a lie.”

I was kind of taken aback, but after a little more discussion, it turns out there is a designated handyman there, but apparently he takes care of all the blocks. OK, I stand corrected but my aunt’s experience is still true. This is what small talk can produce: A better understanding.

Last night, I attended another party with a different group, sitting around a table and talking with neighbors and strangers alike. We got to talking about traveling and experiences.

I had no reason or desire to challenge anyone’s experience and we traded insights into what we learned in foreign countries such as trusting your host, not freaking out in dilapidated taxis on skinny mountain roads, or over-thinking cultural norms surrounding death. This small talk was fun, enlightening, enriching, expansive, thought-provoking and positive.

Sometimes, we get it a little bit wrong or see things a little bit differently. But as long as we can talk it out, we can come to a better understanding and be further enriched for the experience.

I challenge everyone to fact check things you hear before you spread what might very well be an untruth. I think you might even find that quote from Einstein wasn’t really ever his and you might just be perpetuating a lie.

That would be no bueno in any social circle, especially when we really need to trust each other to work on a truthful solution.

Michelle Tafoya, Los Lunas

Stop finger-pointing to fix education


For months I have read bellyachers’ comments in the Albuquerque Journal and other publications about abysmal results of New Mexico’s student performance in educational testing.

The blame is consistently on Michelle Lujan-Grisham and the Democratic Party or on Albuquerque Public Schools. As a retired educator and life-long New Mexican, I felt a necessity to investigate a bit.

The last 10 or 12 governors of New Mexico, beginning in 1951, have been a mix of Republicans and Democrats. Beginning in that year, governors were Mecham (R), Bolack (R), Campbell (D), Cargo (R), Apodaca (D), King (D), Anaya (D), Carruthers (R), King (D) again, Johnson (R), Richardson (D), Martinez (R) and Lujan-Grisham (D). There seems to be a good mix of both parties represented.

Still, the needle hasn’t moved to putting New Mexico’s students anywhere near the top of the heap of scores nationwide. Let’s not forget that the previous Martinez administration had a crack at the puzzle for nearly eight years. No significant change in student performance materialized.

My point is that New Mexican governors of the past 70 years have had their opportunity to improve student achievement scores in New Mexico and haven’t had substantial impact. Any person who is well-read in instructional strategy, impacting educational outcomes, or improving schools knows the challenges and recognizes that there are many cultural issues involved that are difficult to overcome.

In my opinion, the sooner we can quit laying blame on political parties and begin addressing the real issues facing student learning, the sooner we will move away from the bottom of the pack in student achievement. Evidently, political ideology has little impact on significant outcome in student achievement in this state. I challenge critics to propose viable and effective solutions instead of criticism to reconcile our dilemma.

Very few proposals come forth with any substance aside from the constant complaint of funding public schools.

David Yates, Jarales

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