Border project needs air of legitimacy

By Ned Cantwell: State Columnist

The Minutemen are coming to New Mexico but it is going to take an hour or so to sort out the players.

Which Minutemen are we talking about, the New Mexico Minutemen led by American Civil Liberties Union sympathizer Clifford Alford, or the Minutemen Project in New Mexico, led by Mike Gaddy?

Before we attempt to figure this out, you have to be wondering why an ACLU guy would be tramping around the dry, hot, dusty border in fatigues, yelling “there’s one, there’s one!” Most ACLU guys I know are more comfortable eating quiche and frequenting wine-tasting parties.

It is comforting, then, to learn that Peter Simonson, New Mexico’s state executive director, has declared Clifford Alford persona non grata.

Poor Cliff has to be checking his dance card. Not only has the ACLU disowned Alford, so has the Official Minuteman Civil Defense Corps whose New Mexico leader Gaddy says, according to the Albuquerque Journal, “Alford hasn’t been a Minuteman for a minute.”

Forget the fact that is a really cheap pun (but not quite as cheap as “… it is going to take an hour or so to sort out the players.”) The important fact here is that the Minutemen — lucky us, maybe even two Minutemen groups — will be patrolling our borders in October.

This is good news to many New Mexicans. I personally know this is good news to many New Mexicans because, in a previous column, I said it was bad news.

Mercy. Did that cause a stir among the readers.

Said Beverly Long of Carlsbad: “I’m American and I’m a damned mad American. … These people coming across the border (apparently with our state’s blessings) are damned dangerous. They aren’t fooling around and therefore we can’t. … Damn, you ninnies make me mad.”

Said Anonymouse of Roswell: “I have you figured out Ned: You’re a bleeding-heart liberal who loves to pay taxes to support welfare to anyone, citizen or not.” Not so, Mr. Mouse. I think you’ve got it wrong. From previous correspondence I have been tagged not a bleeding-heart liberal but a liberal puke. There’s a difference.

Said Tom Nelson in an e-mail to the Lordsburg Liberal: “I was outraged by Ned Cantwell’s story about border rambos. Everyone is up in arms about a few citizens who wanted to raise awareness about illegal immigrants. One has to wonder if Ned has ever been awakened by 15 illegals at 4 a.m. pounding on his door?” I have not.

Asked Keith Bell of Roswell: “Now that we have had your sneering criticism of the Minutemen, what do you offer in the way of solutions? You say our country must regain control of his borders. Any constructive ideas how we can do that?”

Yes. The very word “illegal” suggests the current reality of a flood of people pouring into our country makes no sense. So embrace the Minuteman project, but only after it has been sanctioned by the federal government and its volunteers have been scrutinized to screen the rambos and the weirdoes, and its members have been properly trained.

Expensive? You bet. But we are spending zillions to occupy and train Iraq forces to protect their country. Why can’t we spend a few bucks to protect our own?

Ned Cantwell is a quiche eating, wine-tasting ninny who writes a weekly column published in 13 New Mexico newspapers. He welcomes response at: