Readers make columnist’s job easy

By Ned Cantwell: State columnist

Comes now the argument that just might shape the dimensions of the cockfighting debate this coming statehouse session once legislative leaders hunker down and Gov. Bill Richardson throws his considerable weight in whichever direction he intends to throw it.

From Cotton City, which Google places near Animas, a grandma gamer posits rather passionately that cockfighting is so ingrained in American history that, indeed, it was his fairness in judging cockfighting contests that earned our 16th president the nickname “Honest Abe.”

My history book gives a somewhat different version, relaying the story of Abe running a country store and taking pains to give the right change. But history scholar I am not. Let me concede the point that perhaps Abraham Lincoln was a cockfighting referee and thereby endorsed the past time.

It needs to be immediately footnoted here that another of our great heroes and founding fathers, George Washington, ran slaves.

While the occasional e-mail endorses this column’s crusade to abolish cockfighting, the brutal activity’s supporters are more vocal. One Alamogordo reader is puzzled why I “make it seem like cockfighting is out of control throughout New Mexico when, in fact, most large municipalities and 13 counties comprising 75 percent of the New Mexico population already ban cockfighting…?”

The point, I guess, is a bad thing is OK if there is just a little of it. By that logic, one might take satisfaction that 48 of the 50 states have banned cockfighting. So, are New Mexico and Louisiana smarter than the rest, or maybe the other way around?
Cockfighting is just one reader concern. Others:

— The Federal Communications Commission is so screwed up that when this Alamogordo reader sent an inquiry having nothing to do with reception, the FCC sent him a reply on how to erect an antenna.

— A longtime reader but first-time e-mailer from Los Alamos wonders now that America has chosen a “new direction,“ if it is OK again to like the Dixie Chicks. Yes, but you have to delete Ted Nugent from your Ipod.

Finally, thanks to all who responded to the invitation to send their own “whys,” things they don’t quite understand:

— A fellow in Carlsbad wonders why pro-life people oppose the ban on assault rifles and support capital punishment.

— Why would Patsy Madrid and Heather Wilson spend $10 million on a campaign for a job that pays $165,200 a year?

— Why do people want English to be America’s official language rather than American?

— Why does a tax “return” form require you to send a check?

— Liberal activist Ed Grothus of Los Alamos wonders why Los Alamos National Lab has no moral or social conscience, why the Golden Rule is preached but never practiced, and why the Catholic Church rallies for the unborn but does not rally to protect those already born.

— Linda H wonders why Big Bill keeps touting tax relief when New Mexicans continue to pay more each year for vehicle registration and other charges.

Perhaps the best “why” of all, this, again, from Carlsbad: Why do they call it “West Texas light, sweet crude oil” instead of “West Texas nasty, smelly crude oil?” Take a look at the mansions these oil folks own, says the reader, and you’ll know “sweet” is in the beholder’s eye.

And this: Why would a columnist ask readers for input unless he was just trying to find an easy way to fill a column?
Busted.

Ned Cantwell requests further column material be sent to:
ncantwell@charter.net