Sunday, January 21, 2007

Virgie Bell's View: Hillary Should Take Care Of Her Own House First

I'm reading Herman Wouks' book titled “War and Remembrance.” I want to thank Steve for the part of my life that I love, my reading time. I’m spending quality time with Mr. Wouk. I also want Steve to bring his grandmother’s crocheted tablecloth. I wish I could make one.

At about one o'clock in the morning, I ran across this quote in the novel, and it explains so much to me: "The lesson was writ plain by Thucydides centuries before Christ was born. Democracy satisfies best the human thrust for freedom; yet, being undisciplined, turbulent, and luxury-seeking, it falls time and again to austere single-minded despotism."

How apt for our American life that is falling away before our eyes. Those in Congress who want to withhold funds for our troops are shameless and are our weakest link in a world that has never forgotten our history. We have forgotten how this country was born, how people fought and died for this dream of Friday Night Lights, the Junior Play and the Senior Trip.

This is the ordinary in our lives, but is so extraordinary to the people who are ruled by dictators of evil empires. We found out yesterday that Kim Jung Il was able to snooker over a 100 million dollars out of the UN. Hugo Chavez has seized control of the vast oil resources in Venezuela. He has taken away property that was privately owned and taken it in the name of the government. What government? He is the government, just as Castro is in Cuba.

We saw one of these evil dictators swing from the neck recently. But look at what is coming up in Iran. The point that I am making is this: That if we don't do everything in our power to remain free, we shall surely forfeit freedom. I know of no one who wants to be mean spirited to illegal aliens. Those like the beloved woman who was Steve’s grandmother are an asset to any nation. They are also loyal in their love for their own country, yet the leaders of their country betray them on every hand.

Old Mexico has the beauty, grandeur, and natural resources to become a first-class country. I know many people who want vacation spots and to retire in that country. No one can help who did what to whom. That is water under the bridge. Only a fool tries to build a foundation on quicksand. I found out that Nancy Pelosi wants every illegal alien to receive food stamps, welfare, education and medical help.

The Mexican government should be doing for its citizens what is by all rights their just due. We don't do them a favor by using them as cheap labor, with welfare checks as their only collateral, and it’s misleading at the very least. Give a man a loaf can never compared to giving him a dream and the means to achieve that dream. It only creates a beggar mentality. I don't know what these poor souls will accomplish in a country that isn’t their own.

The very rich in Mexico should be ashamed that they don't provide for their own. We should not be the ones who benefit from their labor, but what can anyone do as long as a Democratic-controlled House and Senate are determined to exploit for votes the desperate among us?

I see that Hillary tossed in her hat yesterday for the presidency. Do we want a woman who cannot manage her household to manage ours? If so, tell me the reasoning behind such a thing. Each journey begins with a single step; each home is kept by the same concept. It should be the same in the White House as in the most humble dwelling.

Hillary denounced Arafat as a failed leader. Well so is she. I have a hard time with women who crave absolute power, yet do not seem to grasp the value of a loving, caring abode for their families.

So the Friday Night Lights come after you have achieved some growth and some success. The Junior Play and the Senior Trip are also a right of passage. “Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage. This I tell you brother, you can’t have one without the other.” A cute little ditty from a Doris Day song that is true. Family is the most important thing we can have.

Let’s not betray our America. Let’s not exploit those in the rest of the world for the love of filthy lucre. Remember that the Bible says, “A man who does not support his household is worse in the eyes of God than a reprobate”.

A nation that does not take care of its own military is a doomed nation. Stand up for your country and SUPPORT THE TROOPS.


steve ramos said...

I'm glad you like Herman Wouk's books. I've read "The Winds of War" and "War and Rememberance" several times. If you haven't read "The Caine Mutiny" by him, do so. You'll like it, too.

Also, read James Michener's "Tales of the South Pacific," It won the Pulitizer, just as "The Caine Mutiny" did.

Steve Ramos said...

Since you mentioned my grandmother, I'd like to explain quickly who she was.

My grandmother, Maria, was born on her family's ranch in South Texas. The ranch, Los Corralitos, had been in her family since 1750. Originally, it was a 386,000-acre Spanish land grant, but by the time my grandmother was born, only 10,000 acres remained in the family.

My grandmother was an eighth-generation Texan, a descendant of the first Spanish families in the New World. Our first ancestor to set foot in Mexico was a captain in Cortez' army, and by the early 1700s, they owned over a million acres.

In 1750, my grandfather 10 times removed petitioned the king of Spain for more land north of the Rio Grande River, and he was given the 386,000-acre land grant I mentioned.

When Texas separated from Mexico, the new government took 100,000 acres from my family in one whack, saying it was public land. After the Mexican-American War, we lost more land. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo guaranteed that the United States would honor all the Spanish and Mexican land grants, but that's not what happened. All of the Spanish and Mexican landowners from Texas to California lost their lands to the Americans, my family included.

My family fought for the ranch. In her lifetime, my grandmother saw six people in her family murdered as they tried to protect the ranch and keep what was left in the family. Those family members she lost were her father, her grandfather, an uncle and three cousins.

Her father was murdered on May 3, 1943. The next day her three cousins were murdered. My great-grandfather had sued the people who were trying to steal the ranch, and he won the lawsuit in an appeal. The next day he was dead.

My grandmother, tired of the battle and fearing for her children's safety, told my grandfather to get her and her children out of South Texas. That's how they ended up in Dumas. She fled as far as she could without leaving her beloved Texas.

My grandmother was the kind of woman who could pour tea with one hand and shoot a snake out of the tree with another. She never left her house without her dresses starched, her hair done and her nails painted. We were poor, but she lived by a teaching of her father's: "Never show you're in need."

A few years ago, an Amarillo attorney spent a considerable amount of time and money researching the possibility of getting our mineral rights returned to us. State records showed that my grandmother's share of the gas royalties on the ranch would have been about $10 million a year. After a couple of years of looking into it, it was decided there was nothing we could do.

My family's original house, built in the 1780s still stands on the ranch. They also built a fort on the ranch, and my ancestors are buried under the floor. A few years ago, Texas Tech University built a replica of my family's fort on their campus at the Ranching Heritage Center. It was built as a testimony of the grit the early Spanish settlers had.

My grandmother wasn't perfect, but yet she never talked about all that her family had lost. She didn't dwell on it. She was born in a 10,000-square-foot house, but then when she moved to Dumas, she raised her children in a 600-square-foot house. I never heard her complain, but I never saw her hang her head, either. She still walked out of her humble house with the dignity of what she was: the daughter of conquistadores.

She was a brave, beautiful woman. As the daughter of the first Spanish families, she was expected to marry the son of another Spanish family. Grandma wouldn't have it, and she bucked the system. She married my grandfather, who was a full blood Apache. In those days, the Spanish families in Texas and Mexico wouldn't dare marry an Indian, fearful that their blood would darken their light European skin. Grandma's father didn't speak to her for years after she ran off to marry my grandfather. My grandfather was very dark and my grandmother was very light. My family's varied skin coloring reflects that union.

My grandfather was born in Mexico, but my grandmother was a Texan, through and through. She was proud of who her family had been, but she didn't put on airs about it. I didn't know who my ancestors were until I was in my 20s. Grandma just didn't talk about it.

Her great-uncle was the highest ranking Hispanic officer in the Confederate army. Another great uncle was the governor of the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. One of my mother's cousins, Tony Sanchez, recently ran for governor of Texas.

When all of Texas and Mexico was still part of Spain, my family fought for independence. The Spanish army arrived at my family's ranch, plundered it and then arrested all the men who were there. They later shot one of them.

I don't care about the millions of dollars of gas royalties. I'd give anything if I could have the fort my family built in the late 1700s. The fought inside its walls to protect what they had carved out of the South Texas wilderness. They are buried under its floor.

I tell them that I'm proud to be their descendant.

De'on Miller said...

This is a powerful piece, Mom. And Steve, I've saved your comment. I'm glad to have it in writing, b/c I always get mixed up about the story.

Your grandmother was an awesome lady and isn't it great to have these people and stories in your family?

I love our family's heritage and stories. Aaron always did too.

Steve Ramos said...

It's good to know where you come from.

Anonymous said...

De'on as I was reading War and rememberence last night it gave a very detailed account of the battle of Midway. THis battle was a turning point in world war 2. So many died and Mr. Wouks book gives each one of their names and where they were from. Imagine my surprise when one that was killed was from Amherst Texas. A Charlie
Moore. Some day I want to check out his roots. I bought the book The Caine Mutiny when I bought this one Steve and will read it next. Mr Wouk's works were not well represented at the Hasting Book store . They had only three and I bought two of them. The other was a satire titled A Hole in Texas. I read Winds ofWar years ago but would like to do so again. It also seems like I saw the movie as I keep having a Robert Mitchum flash back when I read about Pug. I may just be imagining this as I was such a fan of that talented actor.

De'on Miller said...

Oh, you should definitely check on his roots.

We are all such ordinary people, with extraordinary lives. I know sometimes we don't think so, but years later, going through a box of photos with images of war, parties, The Pacific, and a female soldier who didn't look half bad at all; I have to stop and thank God for the many, many journeys in my life, and try to remember and remind myself that that which seemed like a nightmare at the time, years later, seems like a far away dream, one that truly may not have happened after all ... so much ... so fuzzy.

And yet, it was mine.


Steve Ramos said...

You're not imagining seeing Robert Mitchum as Pug, Virgie. They did a television mini series, and I didn't like it at all. They had the wrong person playing Rhoda, etc. I love the book, and I guess nothing TV did was going to compare to it.

Semper Fi Mom (aka MinuteMom) said...

Steve, thanks for sharing about your wonderful, brave grandmother! That's some family history you have there! As soon as I read "Los Corralitos" I wondered about the house at the Ranching Heritage Center. We just saw it again recently during Candlelight at the Ranch. I'm glad to know a little more of the story behind it.

Steve Ramos said...

Thanks Semper Fi Mom. That's awesome that you have seen the replica of the fort at Texas Tech.

My ancestors built it out of sandstone they quarried from nearby cliffs. On the ranch, the fort sits at a right angle to the house, and, long ago, a tunnel connected the two structures. That way, if the ranch came under attack, and family members were in the house, they could escape to the fort. The original house also was fortified. There are no windows and just one door. It was easy to defend that way.

Believe it or not, the fort was still in use when my grandmother was a girl. The Mexican Revolution was raging then, and there were raids on the ranches up and down the Rio Grande River. Grandma and her sisters sought refuge in the fort several times. The walls are about 3-feet thick, so nothing and no one was getting in.

I'm glad to know someone who has seen the replica at Tech!

Semper Fi Mom (aka MinuteMom) said...

I've enjoyed seeing it before, but now I'm going to see if I can print out your comments and go see it again. It's fascinating anyway, but especially to have the personal story behind it. I can't wait for the weather to clear up so we can go back!