I grew up in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico… born and raised there, left there in 1971 upon graduation from Hot Springs High School. Landed a mere 75 miles away in Las Cruces, NM. NMSU. Aggie Land. Ozone Ranger Radio.
My family consisted of Dad, Elfego P. Martinez; Mom, Nacy Apodaca Martinez; and my four sisters. Grandma and Grampa lived next door. Cousins were our best friends.
Dad’s life was full and interesting, thus making our lives full and interesting. He and Mom both grew up in Cuchillo, 15 miles northwest of T-or-C. After Dad returned about 1945 from his WWII service in the United States Army, they married and moved into town and built our adobe home on Fourth Ave., just down the street from the County Courthouse. Our home was connected to the grocery store (Apodaca’s Grocery), which was connected to my grandparents home (Arthur and Remedios Apodaca). The buildings were ½ a city block long. Apodaca’s Grocery store was a thriving entity for many years… 1945 to 1965 + a few more years. By this time Piggly Wiggly came to town, thus slowly ending our “mom and pop” corner grocery store. I never shopped in another grocery store until I moved to Las Cruces! One of my sisters still lives in that home. The store is now a residence.
Dad was involved in so many other parts of the community… Chair of the Ralph Edwards Fiesta twice, on the Board of Fiesta for many years, Planning and Zoning commissioner, city clerk, businessman, entrepreneur, and, of course, politician. Dad was in politics for as long as I can recall.
November, and the months leading up to elections, were full of anticipation, endless politicking, and a lot of excitement. Dad ran for office… county clerk on the Republican ticket. (As I write this my head is flooded with so many questions… how long was he county clerk, when did he first register to vote, who or what motivated him to get involved with politics?).
Dad served as Sierra County chair for the Republican Party, he was chair of many a political campaign in Sierra County… from Presidents to Senators, to Governors... Eisenhower, Domenici, Carruthers to name a few. Dad was Mr. Republican in Sierra County. All of the activities, commitment and sometimes heartaches were woven into our lives. I appreciated it, I respected it, it is part of my growing up, learning to move in the world. My family still has recordings of Dad’s political speeches! We treasure hearing his voice making a case for his candidacy.
I can’t tell you when I first registered to vote. On July 5, 1971 (just after I graduated from high school) President Nixon formally ratified the 26th Amendment of the Constitution, which granted 18 years olds the right to vote. I suspect it was shortly after that that I registered to vote. But lo and behold I registered as an Independent. Without any discussion with my Dad (because I knew he would be disappointed) I began my own path to deciding who to support. Straight party voting was not going to happen with me. The options and issues were varied, and I wanted to explore them (It was the ‘70s after all!).
As we know, as an independent, one cannot vote in primary elections. That led to my change, at some point, to registering as a democrat. My cousin was running for county assessor as a democrat and I certainly wanted to vote for him! I think there was actually a short stint of being registered as a Green Party voter! That wasn’t going anywhere, so needless to say, I didn’t keep that designation for long.
Dad’s commitment to the Republican Party was honorable. It was heartfelt. He served his community through his participation in the political process. The people he worked with were good, honest, hardworking people regardless of what side of the aisle they were on. I could never make a case with him against the Republican Party’s stand on issues. It was his party.
Not so today. This is not my Dad’s Republican Party. At least in terms of the leadership… the current President and those who support him.
I believe it is just wrong to have a leader, the President of the United States, whose moral values are so low, so wrong… everything from the constant lies, corruption in the operations of our government, the paying off of a porn actress, the carelessness in the handling of the health crisis in America, the refusal to not state that he would agree to the peaceful transfer of power, the disrespect of our servicemen and women and our Prisoners of War. Frankly, I find it Unbelievable. I want my Dad’s Republican Party back. This does not mean I would consider changing my affiliation, by any means. I am a Democrat who sometimes votes for a Republican. I am grateful we have those kinds of choices.
What I know, at this moment in time, that it is critical that we vote to “right the ship”.
Yes, we are all tired of all the political talk/articles/posts, so if you have read this whole thing, thank you. I learned from my Dad …he worked across the aisle, he had friends from both parties, he showed us what it meant to be respectful to people… all people. We need that respect back in our leadership.
So with respect, I ask you to please vote… please vote to right the ship. It matters. You may not be happy with the other option, but at this moment in time it is the only other option.
Pat now is retired and living in Taos, NM with her husband. After a 30-year career in building homes in Las Cruces she is now involved in community endeavors, hosting guests in their Airbnb and gardening.
s/Patricia Martinez Rutherford
(Paid political letter)