One Woman's Viewpoint

Merritt Hamilton Allen, whose work is published previously in the Edgewood Independent, will also provide her columns to the Grant County Beat. 

It’s hell being popular. I committed to four hours of live broadcast this past Tuesday and woke up that day to Day Three of a killer migraine. First, I joined an august group of former state senators and a former lieutenant governor on New Mexico PBS to offer live instant analysis of the 2022 State of the State address (the producers must have hit my email by mistake), then I filled in for the afternoon drive-time host on News Radio KKOB. 

Happily, as I winced my way down I-40 to the KKOB studios, Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham had lots of good news for me. New jobs! Tax cuts! Ranking highest in the nation for stuff! Need to be optimistic and aggressive! No more half-measures!

Even better, the entire speech was over in 25 minutes, and it started close to on time. But as rosy a picture as the governor painted, a couple statements stood out as needle scratches on the easy listening adult contemporary hit single she spun for the state on Tuesday.

1/7/2022
January 6 – remember who is responsible

Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of the mob attack on the Capitol as the 2020 presidential electoral votes were being counted in the House of Representatives. Unlike the protestors who thronged the streets after Trump's election in 2016, the insurrectionists are not written off with that generic term.

As you might remember, there were scores of protests across the country after the 2016 election. But the protesters were never called "Clinton supporters." They were correctly called "protestors." Reporters and analysts even helpfully pointed out that many of the protestors hadn't bothered to vote in the election; they were just mad that Trump won.

Not so with the Capitol riot of January 6, 2021. No – those were all "Trump supporters." As though every person who cast their ballot for President Trump's re-election put on a horned buffalo hat and packed up some bear spray to go riot at the Capitol. All 75 million of them.

12/24/2021

[As previously published in the Edgewood Independent]

I'm pausing my Christmas preparation to write this column. It's a different celebration this year. It's my first Christmas without my mother. My brother texted me just before he left Flagstaff to let me know he and his wife had just tested negative for Covid. And I have paper towels, not pretty guest linens, in my powder room, next to the hand soap and a big bottle of Purell.

Is it possible we are heading into a third year of Covid-19? It's not only possible, it's happening. Our pandemic is becoming endemic. Covid-19 is the Spanish Flu for the 21st century and it's changing society at every level. Personal hygiene is still a public health matter and perhaps we are all learning the etiquette behind it.

Politics remain stubbornly the same despite a change of power in the White House. We are a nation divided; Congress is unable to pass meaningful legislation, much less a budget; and The same motivations drive both political parties: consolidate power and gain a majority at all costs. The goals of improving the country or the lives of Americans seem lost.

12/17/2021

When politicians draw their districts, voters lose.

The Democratic Party of New Mexico's current official platform includes the following: "End gerrymandering by creating and giving authority to an independent non-partisan redistricting commission, separate from the legislative process, that will prevent the drawing of political boundaries favoring one party over another or favoring incumbents."

Well. Unless a single Republican remains in elected office, apparently.

The Democratic legislative caucus could not have made it any clearer how little they regard New Mexico voters this month. As of this writing, state House, state Senate, and State Public Education Commission maps are still awaiting final votes. The Congressional map has cleared both chambers, however, and it is both an abomination and an insult to voters in all three districts.

For full transparency, I will again disclose that I served on the Redistricting Task Force that helped shape the legislation that resulted in the creation of the Citizens Redistricting Committee (CRC), and that the CRC hired my firm to perform community outreach and advertise public meetings. This gave me a ringside seat to the efforts of the CRC, and I can share with you how we got here.