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NMFlagWe  began to wonder the other day just exactly what this symbol on the flag of New Mexico stands for. As is often the case, there is a story behind the emblem which is interesting.

One thing leads to another and I became immersed in the history of this state.

As you may or may not know, New Mexico was settled first by Native peoples, mostly Navajo, Apache and Ute. It was claimed as part of the Spanish Empire. It was not named New Mexico after the country of Mexico, but by early Spanish Conquistadors who, coming north from Mexica (the Aztec Empire) thought to find gold there, and called it such meaning the New Aztec Empire. This was back in 1563, long before the English had entered upon the Eastern Coast of North America

Later, it was claimed by the new country of Mexico, in the 1860’s, then a US territory, and finally a state in 1912.

Wheeler_Pk_from_Valle_VidalOur state has the highest percentage of Hispanics of any state in the Union, and the second highest native population.

All of this bears intimately on our flag.

The colors red and yellow are in honor of Queen Isabella of Castile, the colors brought to this continent by the conquistadors. The symbol in the center is a sun symbol, and relates to the Zia pueblo where such insignias were found on pottery by archeologists.

It’s rays reaching out in four directions refer to the four directions on the compass, the four seasons of the year, by the four divisions of the 24-hour day, sunrise, noon, evening, night, and in the four seasons of life,  childhood, youth, adulthood and old age.

The Zia believed that life contained four obligations:

  1. The development of a strong body,
  2. The development of a strong mind.
  3. The development of a pure spirit.
  4. The devotion to family and people.

Rio_Grande_Gorge_BridgeThe pledge to the flag of New Mexico is telling of how we are as a people here:

“I salute the flag of the state of New Mexico, the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures.”

“Saludo la bandera del estado de Nuevo Mejico, el simbolo zia de amistad perfecta, entre culturas unidas.”

You see, of all of the American Southwest, only New Mexico was not found to be “valuable” from an Anglo point of view. Thus New Mexico escaped much of the animosity and warring that occurred as Anglos sought to take away lands from Hispanics who had held these lands for generations in places like California, Arizona and Texas.

We have always been a place where a melding of cultures has been accepted as being right and proper. While not officially bilingual, the state did adopt the English Plus approach which encourages the teaching of other languages. A Navajo textbook is used in the state. Jurors are not disqualified by speaking Spanish only.

Shiprock.snodgrass3While border problems have not been unknown historically, it is seldom if never that one reads of any problem in the local Las Cruces newspaper or hears about problems on the local news. Being only 40 miles from the border, surely we would be hearing about it if such issues were occurring regularly.

Given that the two cultures are so incredibly intertwined and have been for ever, I think the average New Mexican looks upon all the craziness of places like Alabama and Iowa and their screaming about “border security” with a bit of bemusement and no little anger.

Well, enough of that. This is not a history lesson on the State of New Mexico. It’s just interesting to see how one similarly-placed state sees the whole issue of amnesty and immigration in an entirely different way than do significant portions of the Republican party at least.

I’d sure like to hear about interesting factoids about your state or country. Please do tell.

On the other hand, we’ve decided we are through with most media news. We started with ABC, gave up in disgust, went to NBC, then CBS and then remained with PBS. Now we are through with it too. For some reason journalists think their job is to “give both sides” and leave it at that. No investigation as to undeniable facts, no push back on broad but unsupported allegations, just a nod and on to the next question on the list.

The trouble is, we are living in a time of stark differences. There are not often “two sides” rather there is a side supported by evidence and a side supported by wishful thinking. Some of this permeates both sides of the spectrum of left-right, but more often than not, the wild-eyed incredulous nonsense emanates from one side only.

Fox has successfully ranted about the “liberal” media (which is not supported by facts) and the mainstream media has out of fear of the label, decided the best course is to simply let both sides spout as they wish. Yes the mainstream media is probably composed of more liberals than conservatives, but it remains the case that the overarching ownership of most mainstream media remains in corporate hands who by and large are essentially conservative. The fact is that the journalism (if you can call it that) is not at liberty to do as they wish, but are supervised by larger corporate interests.

So the mainstream has caved to a charge not born out, and is essentially worthless in my opinion. To the vast majority of citizens, giving them both sides is akin to giving them nothing at all. They are not, like myself and those who are passionate, going to investigate and research to find if one side is vastly better in truth-telling than the other. So they do whatever they do in choosing between what they see as two  equal sides. This is what you hear when people claim that the “entire Congress” is useless. They see both sides the same.

So, we have moved to BBC-America, which gives no more than one item on the US and the rest international. Since we don’t get Al Jazeerra in our cable package, this is the best we can do. Frankly both the Contrarian and I read all the national news over the Internet already, so we aren’t missing much.

Oh, and if anybody has forsworn cable in favor of other options, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, please do tell. We lost ABC for 3 weeks over some dispute, picked up our favorite shows online, and with a cable moved them to our TV, so we got the idea we might be able to find almost all of what we watch and save a bundle. Most prices for non-cable are around $80 a year vs. $80/month for a barebones cable package. Weigh in on any info you can offer please.

That’s it for me today. Happy Boo day.