Wednesday, November 25, 2009

OPINION: Marginalization: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter

Magdalena Potluck
By Don Wiltshire

The only way that we might lose this upcoming water battle (see last week’s Mountain Mail) is to allow others to treat us as if we were marginal; peripheral, not important, non-people. It’s easy to do and it’s easy to imagine others adopting this attitude towards us. The root cause of this attitude seems, to me, to come from the “third agreement” of Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements. It’s the one that no one can seem to remember at the time: “Don’t Make Assumptions.”
The other three agreements in this gem of ancient Toltec wisdom are fairly straightforward: “Be Impeccable With Your Word”, “Don’t Take Anything Personally” and “Always Do Your Best.” It’s just too darn hard to “Not Make Assumptions.” It seems to be a quirk of human nature to always assume: “We’re the best,” “We deserve more than we’re getting,” “We’re more important than those other pond scum,” “We’re simply more evolved than they are.”
This attitude crops up in all countries, in all regions, in all religions, in all groups, in all families and in all individuals. Take a look at how quickly we justified the last few Wars we’ve held: “We’re making the world safe for Democracy,” “We have better uses for that oil than they do.” Look at how quickly we dismiss another group of people because their skin tone is a different hue than ours or if their religion and customs are “quaint” or “primitive.” Look at how quickly we marginalize a child who has become “cranky” or “whiney.”
This is the very problem that we face, not only with Bruno Modena, the Italian Businessman who owns the Augustin Plains Ranch LLC, but with the nice folks up north of us. They want our water so that they might “fill their pools,” “water their lush lawns,” “luxuriate in their showers” and “enjoy their magnificent fountains.”
After all, “they deserve it,” “they’ve earned it.” Oh dear, there I go again - making assumptions! Actually, the per capita / day water usage here in Magdalena is much lower than that of Santa Fe or Albuquerque and about half that of Las Vegas, Nevada, even with the Bellagio Fountains averaged in.
We understand the value of water here in our High Plains Desert. You won’t find us (too often) washing our cars, filling our pools or watering our golf courses.
The vast amount of water that lies below the San Augustin Plains should not be looked upon as a gold mine to be exploited.
It is there to support the fragile web of life in this High Plains Desert.
It is there to feed the Gila River and the Alamosa Creek. It will, if used wisely, provide the water needs of the Residents and Ranchers of this area. It is NOT there to be pumped dry for the profit of Bruno Modena.
The upcoming legal battle will take an enormous effort on our part: Contact your state and federal representatives, involve your family, neighbors and friends. Learn what you can about our water resources at the Magdalena Public Library. Become a supporting member of the San Augustin Water Coalition.
Begin our own PR campaign with the simple truth that we ARE real people, entitled to conserve the water resources that support this region. And try not to marginalize others with similar problems. There is a group of citizens in rural Nevada fighting a very similar battle to ours. The City of Las Vegas is looking to drain the groundwater in the rural communities in order to keep the city growing and the Bellagio Fountains spraying.
Marginalization; how did it come to be such a habit? It creeps into every aspect of our lives.
Help us, Don Miguel, to be better warriors, so that we might show a little more compassion to our neighbors and to all living creatures of this earth.
As always, if you have
any Comments? Problems? Solutions? Upcoming Events? Real Butter? Contact me at or (575) 854-3370.

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