This week’s headlines have been absolutely dominated by the downright chilling effect of President Trump using overt, racist language about four sitting members of congress. His attempt on Thursday to walk back his endorsement of chants at his North Carolina rally of “send her back” is clearly disingenuous. The hate-filled rhetoric is out there and Trump supporters are clearly feeling free to express their own vitriol with wild abandon. Unfortunately, this appears to be manifesting itself right here in New Mexico and being encouraged by Republican candidates eyeing next year’s elections.
Chris Mathys, a self-declared “conservative Christian and supporter of President Donald Trump,” held a listening session in the small community (less than 1000 people) of Mimbres in Grant County this past weekend. According to an article in the Las Cruces Sun-News, racists sentiment were loudly expressed by many in attendance and not at all rebuked by Mathys at any point. In point of fact, when one lone dissenting voice raised concern over the tenor in the room, Mathys skewed his particular brand of religion to justify his and others’ racist views toward migrants. “Jesus taught us to love our neighbor. My neighbors and your neighbors are American citizens. We have a duty to take care of our own first.” Continuing directly from the article:
That position was reinforced by other speakers, with McGrath the lone dissenter (Please click through to the article to see this amazing woman’s bold and righteous statements in the face of such hatred).
One man, who stood up and threw his baseball cap down in anger after repeated interventions by McGrath, said, “These people coming across our border are not our neighbors.”
Another man interjected: “They’re here to steal from us.”
In a lengthy response to McGrath, a man identifying himself as Jerry drew a stark line between neighbor and trespasser, saying, “I will not agree with lawlessness, murder, rape, drug-running, and people coming through my fence … I will not stand for that, but before I blow them away with my .44 Magnum, I’ll give them an opportunity to receive Jesus Christ.”
At no point did Mathys decry these comments and a quick look at his (sparsely used) social media pages offer further evidence that he likely holds such views as his own. In the following Facebook post, Mathys goes on a rolling screed against asylum seekers, which he refers to as “illegal aliens” 13 seperate times:
As you can read, Mathys is also clearly attacking his GOP primary opponent, Yvette Herrell as much as he is incumbent Democrat Xochitl Torres-Small. Herrell honestly doesn’t seem to be that far off from Mathys if you look into much of the rhetoric she’s posted online, but it does seem that her support for Trump and GOP positions are couched in general appeal to a larger conservative base. She proudly supports the aging Heritage Foundation, the Reagan-era conservative think tank that touts fiscal policy platforms over the ultra-religious, bigoted platform of Trump and Mathys.
Herrell, at the time of this report, doesn’t seem to be responding much to Mathys’ attacks and instead focusing her screed toward Torres-Small and high profile targets like the four Congresswomen attacked by Trump this week. Her posts feature dubious news sources like the Washington Examiner with inflammatory headlines about drugs and violence around the border. Still veiled racism, but noticeably less overt than Mathys.
While it’s nearly a year until the primary elections, we believe it’s never too early to call out racism when it rears its ugly head here in New Mexico. We’re calling on public officials in CD2 to make firm commitments condemning racism whether it’s from Trump, local candidates like Mathys or any other person in an elected, public position.
Be sure to tag your local reps, commissioners, councilors, and ask them to speak out on the issue of racism in our community!