Drop lies and hate, focus on solutions for better future - Albuquerque Journal

Drop lies and hate, focus on solutions for better future

As the news broke last weekend of a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, we joined the nation in mourning the tragic loss of 10 lives. As it became clear this massacre was an act of terrorism against Black Americans committed by a white supremacist, our grief gave way to anger.

This is not the first time in recent history a young person committed a heinous crime while espousing white supremacist rhetoric. We fear that, as long as the hateful lies that motivated the killer in Buffalo are allowed to spread unchecked, such racist violence will also continue to spread.

Here in New Mexico, where we have long celebrated cultural diversity and our rich heritage, we hear echoes of this rhetoric. In the Republican primary for the governor’s race, the candidates keep trying to outdo each other with lies about dangerous “illegals” entering our country, or insisting learning our history and how it impacts us today is harmful to our kids.

Behind these lies about the supposed dangers of immigration or learning history, Republican candidates send coded messages to New Mexico voters – claiming falsely that new arrivals to New Mexico are a threat and that minority groups are to blame for all that ails society. The Republican candidates’ message has disturbing parallels to the disgusting and un-American conspiracy theory called the Great Replacement Theory – a white nationalist ideology that claims whites are being “replaced” by non-white minorities. This vile idea has given rise to racially motivated hate crimes across our country and around the world.

As lawmakers with different backgrounds, we know that our communities can all rise together if we focus on what we have in common, not what may divide us. However, we are seeing more and more people in positions of power use coded, and occasionally not-so-coded, language to stoke fear and racial division that tears at the fabric of our community. If we do not push back and hold our leaders to higher standards, we will further erode community trust. We also risk more horrific violence at the hands of dangerous individuals who have bought into these lies spread by politicians simply for political gain.

Such hate crimes as the shooting in Buffalo, the racist massacre of Latinos in El Paso, or the killing of Jews at a synagogue in Pittsburgh are chilling reminders that words have consequences, especially the words of people with large platforms, such as elected officials and political candidates.

When candidates focus on fear-mongering about critical race theory – even though the Public Education Department has plainly shown that it is not being taught in our schools – and immigration instead of their positive vision for New Mexico, we have to hold them to account.

Fortunately, we know New Mexicans are strong enough to learn from our history and smart enough to see through these lies. What the constituents in our districts want are good jobs that will allow them to provide for their families. They want their kids to get a good education. They want safe neighborhoods. That is where we will put our energy – and we will stand strong against those that focus only on fear tactics.

For the sake of our state and our country, we urge our fellow elected leaders and political candidates to drop the lies and focus on building a better future for New Mexico.

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