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Tuesday, February 22, 2000

Smokey Briggs


By Smokey Briggs

Slim becomes a conservative

I saw Slim the other day. He was having "breakfast" - a couple of cigarettes and a pot of coffee.

"What's doing?" I asked.

"Not much," Slim replied over the rim of his cup. "I found out I was a conservative yesterday," he said nonchalantly - as though that is perfectly normal breakfast conversation. Slim is fun like that.


I've known Slim for a while, and he has always been a conservative to my way of thinking.

"You just figured this out?" I asked.


"Did you get mugged? Or did you just file your taxes? That's when most people become conservatives," I said.

"I never saw much difference between the two," he said.

"But really, I realized it as I was watching a television news show," he said.

"But you used to be liberal?," I asked, still waiting for the punch line.

"Yeah. Or I thought I was. Last night, I was listening to a talk show. One of the "liberal" guys was sincerely arguing that university teachers had a duty to censor racist, sexist and every other kind of "ist-speech." He said it was necessary to protect women and minorities from the oppression of whites and men."

"And not one so-called liberal on the show disagreed," Slim finished with disgust.

"Yeah," I answered. "It is a popular argument. Free speech favors the majority. It allows the majority to out-shout the minority, so-to-speak," I said.

Slim shook his head.

"It used to be, you could always count on liberals to defend the Bill of Rights - or at least most of it. At least free speech and the rights of criminals and the like," he said.


"And now, they don't. Now, they just want results - if a few civil liberties get crushed along the way - oh well. In the name of victims' rights, women rights, minority rights, and protecting children, they're willing to throw the Bill of Rights in the trash."

"Conservatives haven't always been the Bill of Rights' biggest fan's you know. Still aren't," I said.

"No kidding. Why do you think I always thought of myself as a liberal. At least when it came to the Constitution. Conservatives were always the ones willing to overlook a prosecutor's misconduct, as long as the criminal got convicted. Conservatives were the ones ready to set themselves up as censors to make sure we didn't see any pornography, no matter the possible damage to First Amendment. Conservatives were the ones trying to make sure only inoffensive ideas were spoken on college campuses back in the 60's."

(Slim went to college. I've seen the diploma. It is just hard to imagine him there when you see him).

"The only person on the whole show arguing for a person's First Amendment right to say what they want was some little gal from a religious college where they can't dance, drink, or do much of anything else," Slim said.

"I never thought I'd see the likes of her supporting the same First Amendment that gives pornographers and the like the right to print girly magazines," Slim said.

"And now you're a conservative?"

"I guess so. I'll probably be a conservative for a while. Eventually, the whole thing will turn over, and I'll be a liberal again."

"My Daddy was a Democrat you know," he said as he drained his cup. "Now, I'm a Republican. Funny thing, is that there's not a bit a difference between what he believed and what I believe."

That's free speech for you. It can make things pretty confusing.

Even for an old liberal like Slim.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears each Tuesday. He can be e-mailed at:

Our View

Top ten worst reasons to vote for someone

Working for a newspaper during an election is always interesting, especially in a place like Pecos, where the real election takes place during the primaries.

You get to hear a lot of peoples' reasons for voting for this candidate or that one.

Some are good.

Some are just fair.

Some are frightening.

Hopefully, most of us in Reeves County will go to the polls to vote for the most qualified candidate.

We might not agree on who that is, but that should be the goal.

With that in mind, here is the Top Ten list of BAD REASONS to vote for someone (many of which we've heard).

1) He is my sister's husband's brother's wife's cousin.
2) He is hispanic.

3) He is white.

4) He might give me a job.

5) She is a woman (either way).

6) He and I went to high school together.

7) He has a cool car.

8) He is looks cute.

9) He owes me money. If he gets elected he'll have a job and maybe I can collect.

And the number one worst reason to vote for someone this year is:

10) I'm voting for him. As a public official it will be easier to keep an eye on them.

Your View

Reader expresses his own opinion

Letter to the Editor:
I read your article on "John Rocker's Crime", and I really liked it indeed, but I hope that you will print my version or opinion as I feel that there maybe something else to this controversy about his outspoken opinion. Admittingly so, I was quick to jump on the band wagon myself and condemn his position to judge and verbally de-humanize every race in the world except his own.

If I may have the freedom and honor of expressing my opinion, once again, on your (our) newspaper, I wish to say that even if we all have the right to freedom of speech and say as we may, we should have some type of self-restraint as to not hurt other's feelings as Mr. Rocker did. Just as you said that you agreed with some of his beliefs, well so do I. I just don't come out and yell it to the public and point to any race nor do I condemn anyone for their ideologies, tradition, or way of life.

I spent ten (10) years in the U.S. Army and I met just about every nationality known to man. During my tenure, I visited England, Germany, Turkey, and Iran on the west side of the Atlantic and Hawaii, Japan, and Korea on the east side of the Pacific. I also traveled across the United States (At least twenty states) . This wonderful country of ours is the melting pot of the world and I think that we all have an equal right to be here. Mr. Rocker aimed his bigoted and racist remarks at different people without regard that they are just as human as he is.

I also am against any human injustice such as the practices, ethics, and attitudes of many cultures. All nations have something or other that does not sit well with our ways and it is usually extreme, deadly, imoral, not to mention illegal, but that is their country and sometimes we can't do anything about it except keep it out of our country. We are all racist in one way or another and sometimes we do foolish things without thinking about them. What does come from the mouth such as the bad things we say can really hurt others.

In closing, I would like to say that maybe if Mr. Rocker didn't have anything good to say about anyone, he should have kept his mouth shut, because he made a whole lot of enemies for himself. Also, I don't believe that Mr. Rocker was just being human, I think he was being inhumane and should recant what he said if he really is sincere about not being a bigot. I personally believe that professional athletes are and should be good role-models for our children, but I wouldn't want them to hear something like that coming from his/her favorite athlete. For many years, Pecos has been divided by racsim and bigotry, yet we tend to turn away from the fact. It is not noticeable to some, but it sure is to others.

I think its about time we took a real good look at ourselves and learned to live with one another in friendship and harmony. I also think that we should all take a good look at ourselves before we cut someone down for something that they probably can't control or for the color of their skin, difference in language or usage of the English language.

Sometimes it is better to just keep our opinion to ourselves. Thanks for your time, space, and attention.

As always PEACE!!!

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