One aspect of this upcoming election that has not changed from previous elections is the need for the candidates and many voters to place the blame for this country’s problems, real or imagined, on someone else.
Voters have always looked for a group who are weaker than they are and who cannot fight back, and in this election year it is primarily the Hispanic population that has been cast into the role of scapegoat.
A Donald Trump presidency would especially cause havoc and hardship for everyone in the New Mexico because, as usual, he will have not thought out his positions. Let us think ahead with his proposal to expel illegal immigrants. Trump has announced that, as president, he would immediately form an armed task force/militia to “round up all illegal Hispanics in the country” — 11 million of them supposedly.
Racial profiling is therefore the first order of business. Stop and frisk, although unconstitutional, has been endorsed. There would be no method of determining on the spot who is legal since a driver’s license would probably not suffice as ID. Warrants and a judicial review of each case would be dropped by decree to expedite this mass ethnic cleansing. Illegal seizure of property would be rampant. Mass incarceration (read concentration camps) would be required. And bystanders who interfered would likewise be arrested. This is a surefire recipe for bloodshed and rioting, especially for New Mexico.
Now, thinking ahead again, if a president Trump went ahead with this proposal for mass deportation, a theoretical solution (and definite threat) to this travesty of justice could possibly be secession by New Mexico.
While, on the one hand, it might be difficult (but not impossible) to implement both politically and economically, on the other hand, it could be a godsend to the state. New Mexico has the blueprints and foundation for the creation of a new country already in place: State agencies would become federal; the legal system is already in place; there is already a National Guard in place; a military would be prohibitively expensive and effectively worthless so monies would be saved there; tax policy is already in place (although it could stand to be improved upon) and U.S. federal taxes would now go to the new country of New Mexico; an education system is already in place and might finally get the resources it needs from savings due to a lack of military spending.
In addition, many American companies who could not tolerate a Trump dictatorship might choose to relocate to New Mexico (jobs, jobs, jobs). While this “solution” might seem farfetched, it is worth seriously considering in the light of history. In 1932-1933, many people warned that Adolf Hitler would follow through on his promise to destroy the Jews and most people and politicians ignored the warnings, mostly out of disbelief, indifference or prejudice. Six million Jews died because of this. New Mexico’s present day situation is no different.
Many do not believe a president Trump (like a Chancellor Hitler) would actually try to expel 11 million Hispanics and many (including politicians) are prejudiced against or indifferent to Hispanics anyway.
New Mexico needs to be vigilant and pay attention. It must never allow itself to succumb to the paranoia, hatred and scapegoat mentality that is pervading the rest of the nation. We are above that, and we need to protect ourselves from that mentality, especially without reverting to violence. Secession might just be a mental exercise but it certainly would address this problem peacefully if the need arose.
Also, it would be enough of a threat to politicians and the rest of the nation that we are not going to idly stand by and let them proceed with a very ill-conceived idea, so they would be best off if they scrapped it entirely.
Schurman has been a Taos resident for 28 years and is president of Aztec Spirits LLC.