The El Paso Tribune - El Paso Texas Political Commentary
Fait Accompli
May 9, 2005 - Martín Paredes
The time has come to say adios to The El Paso Tribune. After 31 months the time has come for me to return to work on my business full time. It is with both sadness and relief that I write this last article for the El Paso Tribune. Sadness in that I still believe that this city lacks a local newspaper that fully understands the duty to be a defender to the ideal of Democracy on behalf of the people. The last bastion of defense against government tyranny is none existent in this city. For that I am truly sad.

But I am also relieved to be typing my last regular article for the fact that each article takes time away from my business endeavors that ultimately pay the bills of my household, a significant portion of which ends up in the pockets of politicians who have no clear understanding of the toll they take on people’s lives with their unending flights of fancy for luxuries this community can ill afford. Already I have received a notice from my mortgage company advising me that my monthly payments are going up as well as a notice from the El Paso CAD advising me that my property has once again appreciated translating into higher taxes in the near future.

I want to thank each and every reader that took the time to come to read my rants. It was readers such as you that made the Tribune what it became. The readership grew way beyond what I thought possible. Although I’m sure some of you disagreed with my assertions and others thought I was just plain crazy, I still hope that my positions, at the very least, made you think. Either way, I am delighted that you took the time to read my articles each day.

I am sure there are those that are relishing in delight in my announcement that this is the last article for the El Paso Tribune. To them I must say, thank you for keeping me on my toes these last years. For as many mistakes as I did in my articles there are many more that did not end up published because you forced my to think twice before publishing a piece. As much grief as you all gave me I still enjoyed your positions as learning comes from dissention and not from single minded approaches to issues.

But my warmest thanks go to the numerous people who helped make the El Paso Tribune the publication it became. You are too numerous to mention by name here but I hope that in our conversations I never forgot to say thank you for all of your support. If I did, then please accept this final thank you for all of your help, without it this could never have happened.

Invariably the question becomes, did we accomplish anything? I truly feel that the El Paso Tribune went a long way in bringing community issues to the table, issues that would never have entered the community consciousness had it not being for our online publication. At the same I time I truly feel that this publication, for all its faults brought to the community’s attention the utter disgrace our local newspaper is. The El Paso Times is about injecting itself into the process of democracy, rather than about reporting on democracy. There is no greater dishonor for any media source than this fact; unfortunately the Times’ management has no understanding of this.

I must make it clear, that for the most part, except for one or two reporters working for the newspaper, the majority of the grunt workers, those who put together the paper and those who write most of the articles truly try to serve their duty in their daily labors. It is not these who labor day and day out to put the paper out that are at fault, it is the management that has lost sight of what it truly means to be the newspaper of the city.

I feel sorry for those in our community that do not read Spanish because you are stuck with the El Paso Times. For those that do read Spanish than you are probably aware of the admirable job El Diario is doing in reporting local El Paso issues. Just in the last week, El Diario has not only done multiple in depth analysis of the elections in El Paso but it also produced a piece of how the city’s budget is divided and how much of it goes to pay salaries versus other services. As if that wasn’t enough, El Diario also produced a piece on voter turn out in El Paso by age group and educational level, all this while the local paper was tripping all over itself trying to see how much more they can sensationalize the Cushing debacle.

Although rumors have abounded that El Diario will be competing directly with the El Paso Times with an English edition, the fact is that El Diario is entering the El Paso market with a Spanish edition. I look forward to that time as I will get my daily dose of local issues in a fair and objective fashion rather than the El Paso Times’ fashion of spoon feeding the community what it deems appropriate for its agenda.

I can’t close without at least mentioning the El Paso Inc. and its role in the community. As a businessman, the El Paso Inc. amply serves my needs as to economic issues facing our community giving me some of the tools I need for making decisions for my business endeavors. It has carved out a niche that it serves very well. But their focus will primarily be business issues thus their impact on local political shenanigans is very limited. But none the less I look forward to their coverage when they come.

Another question that comes to mind is whether there is room for another daily in El Paso? The fact is that a true government watch dog requires a measure of independence in order to properly challenge the process of government. Unfortunately independence requires economic prosperity which is difficult in today’s economic realities. Advertisers do not like controversy and as such they are an inadequate source for funding a governmental watchdog. Although the need exists, the plain fact is that money does not exist for social activism.

But it all ultimately comes down to one irrefutable fact and that is general community apathy. When less than 13% of the voting community exercises their duty to participate it makes government that much stronger thus relegating us to higher taxes and a government in it for itself rather than for the people it purports to serve. Therefore, those few that truly care and educate themselves about the issues are outnumbered by those too ignorant to care about their futures. When over 80% of our population is too busy to care about voting than there is nothing more any political zealot can do than to just give in and say fait accompli.

(Thank you all for reading and participating with your vote. I will leave the archives of the El Paso Tribune up in hopes that it may encourage someone else to pick up the torch of dialogue or that it may help someone else to begin to question their government instead of accepting what government tells them as gospel. This is the last issue of The El Paso Tribune.)

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