Mondays are tough around here, and this Monday was no exception. For whatever reasons, some of our employees and associates decided to feel really sorry for themselves, and they shared their bad vibes openly in a frontal barrage of excuse-making, finger-pointing and self pity.
By afternoon, Monday’s ennui became full-scale gloom when we got the news that our friend Utah State Sen. Pete Suazo had been killed in a hunting accident. Pete was the antithesis of excuse-making, finger-pointing and self pity. As I broke the news to one of his friends, it occurred to me that the disparity between true adversity and self-diagnosed self-importance is a fundamental barrier between making a difference in this world and just making a mess.
Pete Suazo made a difference. He built bridges. He developed solutions. He laughed. He cried. And he never, never stopped trying. He cared passionately for his causes and we cared passionately for his causes, too, because they are all of our causes. If any one person embodied the spirit of an alternative newspaper in a forum outside of the media, it was Pete Suazo. If any one person gave us reason to validate and continue our efforts and beliefs, it was Pete Suazo.
I first met Pete eight or so years ago when he was still a state representative. He was a West Side boy and I was a Bingham boy. It’s hard to elaborate upon, and harder to understand for some, but the truth is, we had a keen sense of each other although we had barely met. We simply knew what the other was about. Over the years, we built a steady and reliable friendship, always accentuated by his rapid smile and his gentlemanly, respectful demeanor.
Of all the politicians I’ve met, Pete Suazo bore the heaviest responsibility. He was respected and admired by those who knew him, but he was a visible target for racists and bigots. If he complained about that, he complained silently. Pete Suazo, West side Mexican, would not let his issues die silently and his eloquence belied the stereotype his critics wished to label him and his people with. He grew into a power broker and voice for the entire West Side and by extension, Utah’s Hispanic and Latino populations. That those groups have been so historically marginalized—Rep. Chris Cannon and Rep. Jim Hansen represent the bulk of Pete’s district in the U.S. Congress for chrissakes!—made fodder for Pete’s latest battlefront of reinstating his district with the rest of urban Salt Lake County.
He’s gone now, but this newspaper promises to make every effort to fulfill Pete Suazo’s lasting and essential legacy to ensure that his district is represented by the men and women who live, work and breathe there. To his wife and family, his sons and his sister, Anna Marie, lo siento te doy mi mas sentido pesame. To his friends and everyone else, nosotros tenemos ojos que ven, nosotros tenemos corazon siente.
We can see it. We can feel it.