Jon Miller

As much as I hoped I could refrain from addressing the issue yet again, here we remain.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham once again dropped the state into Phase 1 of COVID-19, meaning of course that countless restaurants and small businesses will suffer, or continue to suffer. Obviously this is devastating news not only for owners, but for the employees of those establishments as well.

The New Mexico Restaurant Association organized an online protest earlier this week with the hashtag LetUsServe, and a couple of area restaurants took part. I’m all for that, because people need to work. People need to live. People need to feed their families.

What’s somehow gotten lost in all of this however is that people are also still dying, and those who recover are likely to face life-altering side effects for the duration of their lives.

At what point are we forcing ourselves to prioritize economics over human life?

Now I understand obviously that a government-mandated inability to feed yourself and pay your bills is closely intertwined with the sanctity of life, because again people need to eat to live. So while it’s an understatedly complicated situation and the answer seems to further elude us every day, I think we have to ask ourselves what steps can we personally take to make sure we don’t end up back here, that we don’t have to go backwards again.

I’ve exhausted my willingness to continually interject my opinion on that, and I’m sure you can decide for yourselves.

As a reporter with a far more extensive background in sports than anything else, I was disappointed when I came back to The Chieftain when spring sports had been cancelled. Three great classes of seniors in this county had their best high school months taken away from them. I was devastated to learn on Friday that fall contact sports had been, at the very least postponed until later on in the year.

I’m still undecided on whether or not schools should open in a few weeks, but I don’t have children of my own so I’ll digress.

But now the decisions we’re making as adults are beginning to continually have a profoundly negative effect on Socorro County’s young people, and from the outside looking in that seems egregiously unfair to them.

Granted, football and soccer may get a chance to play come the spring but Socorro, Magdalena and Alamo Navajo are all small schools that seem to take pride in student athletes participating in multiple sports. How can we in good conscience expect a 16-year-old kid to decide between running track, playing baseball or playing football? How can we expect a high school senior to make the decision between playing softball or soccer?

The Warriors football team uses the age old saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” with some frequency and of course that’s probably generally a good way to look at life. Right now things aren’t fair for a lot of people, including young people.

But who here is making it unfair for them?

Lady Warriors soccer coach Mike Olguin had to tell his kids they weren’t playing soccer in the fall on the same afternoon he received word from the city that his team could use the track at the soccer complex to condition. We all have to adjust accordingly for the future, but I wouldn’t personally want to tell a team full of young women who has a chance to win a state championship every year that no one knows when they’ll actually be able to get on the pitch.

Maybe we should start listening to the people our actions are affecting the most, and not just the ones over the age of 18.