Letters to the Editor (05/16/2012)

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Gay marriage not a threat
Editor:
Recently President Obama expressed his support for gay marriage.
Reaction of those opposed to this idea has been predictably strong, including that by Doug May in a letter to this newspaper.
A frequent argument against gay marriage is that it threatens the institution of marriage between a man and a woman. For the life of me, I don’t see how two men or two women getting married threatens my own marriage.
On the contrary, it seems to me that the stability and love provided by a good marriage in an increasingly savage and hateful world ought not be denied to any who seek it regardless of whether they are gay or straight.
David J. Raymond
Socorro

Socorro shouldn’t honor rebels
Editor:
Recently, and back in February of this year, my cousin Edward Baca wrote letters to the editor of this fine newspaper protesting the Confederate memorial at the Socorro Protestant Cemetery.
As a genealogist, I believe that we should honor our ancestors, even those who lived in nefarious times. As such, I have no problems with people honoring their Confederate dead.
Certainly, most Confederate soldiers did not own slaves or actively support the institution. However, as a social studies teacher, what I do have a problem with is the misrepresentation of history.
The Civil War was started by the Confederacy when they seceded from the Union and invaded Ft. Sumter. The Union responded to this threat, and the worst conflict in our history was begun.
The Civil War was about slavery and not about states’ rights. The south seceded because they feared that Lincoln would free the slaves. The Confederacy actually did not support states’ rights. Their secession document states that they were protesting that the Fugitive Slave Act was not being enforced.
This law imposed federal law on the states’ rights of Northern states by forcing them to abide by the Southern slave owners right to capture and re-enslave slaves that escaped to Northern free states.
This false history of states’ rights and of the ensuing Reconstruction allowed for segregationists to impose their will over African-Americans in the South. Southern segregationists blamed “carpetbaggers,” “scalawags” and freed African-Americans of trying to destroy the Confederate South.
When Reconstruction ended, they were able to impose Jim Crow laws that held down the progress of African-Americans for a century.
As a nascent local historian, I also find problems with the Confederate monument’s assertion that the Confederates soldiers honored were defending the Confederacy in New Mexico. Ever since before the Mexican American War (1846-1848), Texas had claimed ownership of half of New Mexico. They even sent a judge to New Mexico to impose Texas law on New Mexicans. This judge was completely ignored by the local authorities.
Within a year after the Civil War broke out, Texas Confederates invaded New Mexico in order to try to get Colorado and California gold. Brave Union soldiers and New Mexico volunteers repelled these invaders.
While they were here in Socorro, the Confederates set up a makeshift hospital and pressed Socorro residents into involuntary service.
The Confederate invasion was terrible part of our town’s history. It should not be honored by locals with a Confederate monument.
Robert J. C. Baca
Albuquerque