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9/26/2000

New Mexico, my former home,

Filed under:General — eric @ 10:54 am

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New Mexico, my former home, with its puny five electoral votes, is this year a key battleground state. The story says that Bush and Gore are running neck and neck there, too. I’m surprised. Most New Mexicans I met would go out of their way to put down a Texan. Local legend has it that at the outbreak of the Civil War, the New Mexico territory waffled on the issue of leaving the Union. When Texas joined the Confederacy, the issue was decided. New Mexico would stay Union and fight Texas. Texas has officially invaded New Mexico on three occasions. When the official border surveys were drawn up, the survey team (Texans, supposedly) made a mistake, resulting in the state line being set a mile or so to far west (look closely at a map showing the common border with Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Notice that the western edge of Oklahoma and Texas don’t quite line up north/south. They were supposed to.). When I was moving away, there was a move afoot to petition the Federal Government to redraw the border as it should have been. It turns out that there are lucrative natural gas deposits right under the border, and the additional mile or so would mke a big difference on revenues. Also, there was a half-hearted movement in Texas to give the area around and including El Paso to New Mexico, as Texas was finding the area difficult to manage from far-away Austin. New Mexico’s reaction was “Ugh! No, thank you!” I think most people don’t realize just how different the entire Chihuahuan desert region is from the rest of the country. In El Paso once, at a McDonald’s downtown on the plaza, I had to order using the illiterate’s picture menu, because I couldn’t communicate with the counter staff. “Big Mac Value Meal” just wasn’t coming across, so we used the pictures to figure out what I wanted.

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