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ABOUT US: A family’s hope to help turn back Social Minimalism radical capitalism as both social and economic disease has damaged U. S.

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By Dan Bodine

 

This is my story. Actually, a backdoor example of social minimalism at work. And how one Southern country boy committed himself to calling the public’s attention to it. In hope it might help someone else rise above it.

How, as an ol’ beat-up, newspaperman in a small town along U.S Highway 67 in North Central Texas once — in no doubt the darkest period of my life — found a New Beginning (new friends, new wife and family) by following Hwy. 67 to the southwest 7-8 hundred miles to its end in another small town — on the Rio Grande in far West Texas.

Presidio. An ancient Indian trail crossing on the river in the rocky mountains of the northern Chihuahuan Desert! A place I’d never visited before. Ever. Known to me only by a news journal ad I’d answered a few weeks before.

Which was soon after my business partner and I decided to shut down our own little weekly newspaper — the only one left from what had been a small, lively but now defunct chain.

The ad asked for someone to take over as editor of “the fastest growing weekly newspaper in Texas — and to help convert it to a daily publication!

Nothing but what appeared to be a promising future, it held out. Literally, the old hope-and-a-prayer rescue bait!

Divorced with no children, and broke (the other weekly strangled in debt), I went for it.

In late October 1989 then — with our once hopeful parent firm, Southwest Times, Inc. — gasping its final breaths in Chap. 11 bankruptcy; essentially I shut down the oldest business in Johnson County (Tx), the Alvarado Bulletin.

As vice president and publisher of what once had been four weekly publications, I scribbled a crude “Out of Business” sign on a piece of paper, taped it to the inside of the large plated, front glass window; and left for a place in my mind people in those situations simply call New Hope.

Alone and crying, as alcoholics often are, financially ruined, no doubt mentally wrecked the worst ever I’d been — and just a tad bit short of my 46th birthday, too — closing that door and walking away, I think, was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life!

A big-time failure in life, I was admitting to being! A Donald Trump, I certainly wasn’t!

Not just the failed business, but two marriages, both without children, plus all the years of work and schooling to “be somebody.”

I stared at it all, long and hard, in that haunting room.

Before finally shutting the door on it.

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Dan at his office desk in his old JP days.

And saying goodbye forever — to all of them. I would start anew. Somewhere else.

And said hello to a new future. Down and out — the epitome of social minimalism then (the oblique way society glances at losers) — I was determined to find new life.

On death row sometimes, a light at the end of the tunnel — a possible exit or a new beginning — becomes Hope.

I got into my vehicle and drove toward a small, border community located in rugged, hot mountains — determined that any life there, for me, “had to be better than this.” Anywhere.

Anywhere happened to be a poor Bordertown. Unpaved streets and choking dust.

Was I stupid?

It may have been the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life, yes! And scariest!

Later, when friends learned I’d gone to Presidio to take over as editor of a small weekly there, in fact, I was told just that, in so many ways and words – You’re stupid!

But I was gone, too.“

It” (Johnson

Noemi,maybe '96-'97, with Big Bend State Park's majestic "River Road" view behind her. (Desert Mountain Times photo).

Noemi, maybe ’96-’97, with Big Bend State Park’s majestic “River Road” view behind her.

County and my personal failures linked to it) were behind me. And slowly, in that hesitant, fumbling way of mine, I started building a new future for myself. Taking on an additional job to help offset expenses.

Now, long after remarriage and after becoming a father to a beautiful princess, I’ve retired after serving as Presidio’s sole judge for 18 years — municipal court judge, 13, justice of the peace 17). And we’re living upstream from Presidio a few hundred miles — but still in the desert mountains — in El Paso.

And, in hindsight, I’ve grown enormously as a person. I have a much better feel on how the realities of Life work, i.e. A stutterer since early childhood, this website then represents attempts to express some of my inner feelings on them, which, left to verbalize, I otherwise would never have done, I’m sure.

When people ask me why I’ve chosen to write on radical capitalism/social minimalism, I smile a bit and simply say, “Well, it’s the only thing I really know anything about. I’ve lived through it. And survived. And observed similar results of the same things happening to other people — thru years of tense court cases.Life is hard, readers; if you haven’t already, accept it. But God is good; accept that, too! It will come.

Life is hard, readers, yes. But your entrusted higher power, God — more than equally capable of confronting it — is good, too, as potential to counter it. Never lose hope is my little story’s message I wish to imprint.

While still struggling to find new life in those early years — in this strange, mostly Latino community deep in the Big Bend — I met Noemi, my wife, one Spring night in a restaurant in Ojinaga, Chih., MX, across the Rio Grande from Presidio.

The two cities make up the only international port-of-entry on a river stretch of about 500 miles downstream from El Paso to Del Rio.

And after talking with Noemi for about an hour, an awareness struck me that “this may be the strongest woman I’ve ever met in my life.” She’d been a career administrative secretary for ADUANA, Mexican Customs.

After our marriage in March, 1995, she became a diabetes counselor for Presidio County. And then later, for many years, she directed the Sr. Citizens Center for the City of Presidio.

Maiya Kareli Bodine, almost 16 here, is our daughter. She’s seen at the 2015 El Paso Poppy Festival held in the Franklin Mts. She’s now in her senior year at El Dorado High School. A member of the Varsity Aztecs Orchestra for three years, she plays violin. And will attend University of Texas at El Paso fall, 2017, on academic scholarships. (All above, CSM photos)

In March, 2016, we celebrated 21 years of marriage.

Maiya Kareli Bodine, a senior this year at El Dorado High School, will enter the University of Texas at El Paso this fall on academic scholarships. She’s a 3-year orchestra student.

We love her, needless to say.

But, most of all out of all this, I’ve found the strength in that old term, togetherness, really is true. We are family.

For me, finally. The feeling is there, and it’s great!

Concerning this site itself, it’s a reflection of my old-fashioned belief in the goodness of people — that flows naturally from the same attitude that once allowed me to survive bad days in my newspaper career.

And that’s a belief that together, we can rise above all our current economic depressions and political turmoil.

I believe governments exist not just to protect us from each other’s exploits — be it a next-door neighbor or a deceitful business person in another country — but also to preserve the sanctity of basic human rights endowed upon us at birth by God, our creator.

Social minimalism is this country’s libertarian outcrop of radical capitalization, carried over even into our founding Constitution. Our earliest pilgrims, ironically, largely came seeking greater liberties and freedom from religious persecution. But the clamor of our right-wing extremists rising to the surface of public policy now is rooted in this social disease. Especially when tied to a Christian-right imperialism death-threat!

Prepare for the kingdom!

Not a lot has been written on the topic, admittedly; we hope to write more on it here. Perhaps even touch on it in writing some in non-fiction narratives — descriptive events I’ve personally witnessed and can put down on these electronic pages as short books for you.

With hope you as a reader will spend some time reflecting, learn thru my scatter-shooting. Personal essays or stories underscoring how — when institutionalized and left unchecked — social minimalism can gut a country’s spirit and will.

And hopefully join, in a kindred spirit, to help reverse the most recent outbreak of this disease in decades.

Togetherness is the key. In a country noted both for its citizens’ liberties and, too, their constitutional rights, we are all one in confronting this.

 

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