Low culture

  • Jon Kelly
  • 18 Sep 08, 07:15 AM GMT

The culture wars are refusing to die down in New Mexico, according to the Albuquerque Journal. David Coss, the Democratic mayor of liberal Santa Fe, has pulled out of addressing an evangelical conference in the city after spotting a statement on the organisers' website comparing homosexuality to "Sodom and Gomorrah".

Given that Santa Fe has the second-highest percentage of same-sex couples in the US, Mayor Coss's decision sounds like smart politics. "If there was a Catholic conference on eliminating a woman's right to choose, I wouldn't participate in that either," he adds.

In response, the organiser of the event, Pastor Kyle Martin, is waspish. "The Scriptures say homosexuality is a sin, the same as pride," he tells the Journal.

It's easy to dismiss such stories as the well-rehearsed posturing of the nation's entrenched red and blue camps. But the passions enflamed by such spats perhaps help to explain another item in the paper.

It reports that officials fear over 1,000 new voter registration cards received in one county alone may be fraudulent. The clerk's office in Bernailillo has called in prosecutors after receiving forms offering the details of people who were already registered, it continues.

I don't know if it's the fact this is a crucial swing state, or something to do with a scorching climate. But politics sounds like a tough old business in New Mexico.


  • Comment number 1.

    1000 fradulent votes in New Mexico is but a drop in the bucket. Voter fraud is all too easy and (criminally) too frequent.

    Three years ago I lived in Wisconsin (Yes, the land of Milwaukee and the buyout of homeless people votes for packs of cigarettes). I HAVE NOT lived in Wisconsin for three years, let me put it that way.
    I receive an absentee ballot from Wisconsin each year, so along with my current Missouri voting card I could vote in both places with no one the wiser. (And if you move within the state of Wisconsin, then get that new address changed on a driver's license, you get to vote twice in two different places----lady I worked with proudly admitted to doing that in '04. Wisconsin requires driver's license only to register to vote).
    ***By the way, I vote only in Missouri; Wisconsin ab-ballot gets ripped and thrown away.

    The point is that stories like this are rampant and indicative of a system that looks the other way instead of addressing the need to be fixed....ok, poor choice of words, let's say "repaired".

  • Comment number 2.

    The Economist has been doing a series on "swing states." New Mexico is one of those states and it has five distinct political regions, of which Santa Fe is one.
    If such a clash will come together, Santa Fe is as good a place as any.

  • Comment number 3.

    Jon - This is what I am talking about. The cities represent a better cross-section and representation of the USA than the underpopulated (20% of the people) monoculture of the small town.

  • Comment number 4.

    “The cities represent a better cross-section and representation of the USA than the underpopulated (20% of the people) monoculture of the small town.”

    Although I can recognize the nostalgic distinction between “city” and “small town,” the human geography of contemporary America is so much more complex than that simple dichotomy. I’m sure Jon has already come to understand that the American reality does not reflect a map of “Red” and “Blue” states; nor “cities” and “small towns”

    To be honest, I personally find that it’s in those interstitial areas, those “non-place-realms,” [see Garrard] where you see the broadest “cross section” of Americans, if that quest is even possible. American culture is like complex geological matrix of various rocks, including intrusive dikes [that’s actually true], conglomerates, etc. Geology is the best analog to culture.

    Jon: I heard your piece about the Arizona “shooter” woman on streaming BBC. Brilliant. But don’t let your head get too big. Keep it cool. What a trip.


  • Comment number 5.

    The 1,000 bogus registrations are troubling.

    And, I'll bet they were all registered Democrat!

    In the few states where a photo voter ID system is proposed, which would seriously cut down on fraud, the opposition to the idea is strident, and comes from (drumroll please) the Democrats!!

    I wonder why, I really do.

  • Comment number 6.

    I can't speak for every state in the Union, only those in which I have lived and voted (WI, IL, MO).

    Photo voter ID card was suggested in Wisconsin (early to mid 2000's), however Democrats opposed it and thus the idea was killed. Dems' excuse was that it was unfair to low-income families and seniors living on fixed/low incomes---completely disregarding that the proposed idea was to make these photo voter ID cards FREE. Income levels would not have been an issue. It begs the question--"If not, then why????"

    Like you, I wonder---I really do. I have my theory, especially having experienced voter fraud situations myself, but....well, in the absence of anyone standing and admitting to what is going on and the reasons behind it, proof will be difficult to come by.

    By the way, to address Illinois (where I was born, lived and voted for a time and have hundreds of family members there), "vote early, vote often", trust me---it's no myth! Yet even if all of "downstate" Illinois pooled themselves together, they couldn't block, fight or succeed against Chicago power corruption and its stranglehold on that state.

  • Comment number 7.

    All these accusations of "bogus" votes, especially coming from the likes of the OldSouth (#5) is quite amusing. Not so long ago, it was reported that even the long dead confederacy voted in Louisiana, and in other parts of the south.

    I think those commenting about "bogus" voting should clean their own dirty linen first before peeking into someone' else's closet.

    When it come to high core political voting corruption, the Southern States lead the pack.

    Does the state of Florida ring a bell here?


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