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>Big LA….Little LA

>August 28th, 2009. A day that will live in infamy. OK…maybe it was not as dramatic as the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but for the tiny world in which I exist, this day will be remembered for a very long time. It marked a day in which I made the difficult decision to leave Los Angeles after more than four years and return to my beloved home state of New Mexico.

Leaving LA will not be easy. It is a city in which I have grown to love. A city that has provided to me one of many second families. I have a fantastic job as Director of Community Wealth with East LA Community Corporation and set personal goals of making significant strides to impact my community of Boyle Heights and unincorporated East LA. I am comfortable, things are really good. But…

As a young person growing up in Lake Arthur, New Mexico and now as a grown adult, I have always felt an obligation to the public interest of rural communities in New Mexico. I have always felt a strong obligation to serve my people in the capacity of public service, providing for the greater good of all. However living in Los Angeles can sometimes distract you from your true love and can lead you to not so great paths; such as fame, money, etc (which I possess neither of those things) The point is, I have become distracted….forgetting for awhile my true purpose in life.

Believe it or not, a historical event took place two days before my “day of infamy” and is quite frankly, responsible for changing the course of my life, forever. If you are the one person who has read my posts the last few months, you will have come to the conclusion that I am a staunch liberal/progressive (whichever you prefer) and it was 8/26 when one of my favorite Senator’s, from one of the most notorious political families in the United States, died. Like many other American’s I too had known over a year that Senator Kennedy was extremely ill and his death was inevitable. However for me…his death took a tremendous toll on me. I called in sick the day after Teddy’s death and I sat on my green chair and watched as C-SPAN reported on the lines of people forming and waiting in Boston to catch a glimpse of this man. The last of the Kennedy’s and one of my personal hero’s.

Many have criticized the Kennedy’s, making insensitive statements about how they became so influential. But the bottom line is this: the Kennedy’s really did want to make the world a better place. Ted Kennedy truly wanted to see the world improve for all people. I was intoxicated by the events transpiring on my television and lead me to reflect intensely that on 8/28, after watching hours upon hours of the history of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, I came to the realization that I too needed to make a mark in history. But for Angelica M. Rubio, I needed to finally leave my comfort zone here in Los Angeles and return to my home state of New Mexico, where I will be greatly challenged.

In 27 days, I will return to New Mexico for good. I will return for the first time in over four years. I think back on all the incredible things I have learned during my time in Los Angeles and I think about the incredible impact I could make in my own community and state. However, while I feel confident about my decision and I am so inspired by my return, I also worry about the challenges that I will face as I look ahead to the future.

I grew up in Lake Arthur, New Mexico, the smallest town in the world. I joke around about its “rural-ness,” but I do it with love. While it is the smallest place in the world, it is also a place where very few of its citizens believes that he or she can make a difference in their community. I believe it is a feeling that has always existed and continues to be a belief even today. This is a challenge. What is also challenging is that these same feelings exist up and down the Pecos Valley in southeast New Mexico, which may reflect an unwillingness to changing the status quo. There seems to be no desire to make the necessary changes to improve the quality of life for all within their own community. So I worry. I worry that I may not be prepared to confront those who may be responsible for creating the status quo. I worry that I am not fully prepared to confront the realities that exist and my idealism will be tarnished and eventually fade away. But as I think all of these things, I also wonder if I am, what many conservatives call, “an elitist.” Those so-called liberal intellectuals who are consumed by the wrongs of the world, blaming it on ignorant honky’s, unwilling to see beyond “big city” progressive thinking. Hands down, I will defend my beliefs and my thinking until the day I die, nevertheless…what gives me the right to assume that I know more than the people I think I need to save? What gives me the right to assume all rural people have tiny little brains, incapable of thinking for themselves?

During the eight years that the Bush Administration was in office, I lived and worked in Lake Arthur, New Mexico, and worked whole-heartedly for the Kerry/Edwards campaign in 2004 and was so convinced that I could sway conservative retirees and get young people to get involved and vote for Senator Kerry. I obviously did not, as we all know how the election turned out. What was sad though and continues to be depressing is that in a place as small and rural as New Mexico, people have greater problems to worry about then voting in a bunch of rich, white men who may or may not make the situation better for them. Those living in the rural parts of our country are demographic who time and time again have been disenfranchised by the left and the right and now may have chosen at one point or another, to be complacent with the present and disregard any form of civic duty. If this is the case, that is fine and I can respect that. I have no doubt in my mind that people choose to stay out of politics because politics is what has screwed them over time and time again. What I do find disheartening and very concerning however, is a small percentage of those who are disenfranchised, are looking to the wrong people to speak on their behalf. We have the Glen Becks, the Rush Limbaugh’s, the Michelle Malkin’s and the Sarah Palin’s, dictating what this rural group of people should believe in, while these Tea Party pundits sulk growing wealth and fame, giving tyrannical speeches, insulting the so-called “crazy liberals” and blaming us for the screwing up the country, at the expense of those who continue to make them rich, and all the while these rural communities like Lake Arthur continue to suffer. No quality, affordable health care, high unemployment, no end to a war in Afghanistan and an increasing High School drop out rate. I am not stating that the Left has all of the answers, believe me, I know we don’t. Nevertheless, as someone from the Left and like many others on my side, we do our research and make our own decisions on what to believe in, without being influenced by the Keith Olberman’s and Rachel Maddow’s (however I do heart Rachel Maddow) It is imperative that my community do the same. That they speak for themselves and make a conscience decision on how they move their community forward. Will I have something to do with that? I don’t know…I guess that is what makes me excited and still, very highly challenged.

So I return to Lake Arthur at the end of the year. Preparing myself for the obstacles I say confront and who knows…maybe some surprises. I may have my community all wrong. It may turn out that I just needed to grow up a little, return and maybe educate myself on what my own community may already know.

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