Some friends and I were talking about this and that the other night when we all more-or-less agreed that our state, New Mexico, needed a new motto. After all, Crescit eundo hardly rolls off the tongue. The translation of the Latin into “It grows as it goes” is amazingly bland and vague. Clearly, something needs to be done. I think we should look no farther than to a state icon. A symbol that has been used with homespun pride, commercial success, and reaches deeply into our collective consciousness. The words are simple, and yet have a profundity that far exceeds their syllabary. I propose that the new New Mexico motto become: Meep, meep!
I think that, except for the most stodgy of traditionalists, the population would not only readily embrace Meep, meep, as the new motto, they would use it at every opportunity…even at the expense of other states. I mean, let’s say that you’re striking up a conversation with a multi-generation native patriot of Missouri. You innocently inquire as to their state motto, and are told that it’s: Salus populi suprema lex esto. They, hopefully having been raised right, will ask the New Mexican in return what their state motto is. When given the reply, Meep, meep, how could the Show-Me stater be anything but awed with the eloquence of our people?
New Mexicans have shown a strong reverence for the culture of our land. The state vegetables are chile y frijoles (chile and beans), with the related state question being: red or green (chile). Our state plant is the yucca, seen throughout the state as distinctively as the saguaro is in Arizona; and what child of the state doesn’t have ringing in their ears the sound of roasted piñon, the seed of the Piñon pine, being cracked between teeth? So, it’s with much pride that perhaps our most recognizable symbol is the state bird: the roadrunner.
Immortalized on film for decades, the roadrunner showed calm in the face of adversity, and a craftiness in the face of a determined foe. In an homage to the great WWII General MacAuliffe (who, when asked to surrender to the Germans in 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge, is said to have replied “Nuts!”), the stedfast and laconic avian hero would say nothing except, “Meep, meep.” How can we not respect this degree of eloquence?
The source of this, of course, comes from the Warner Brother’s cartoons featuring an animated version of the state bird. What’s great is that Meep, meep (so far as I know) isn’t trademarked. The trademark is for “Beep, beep.” This clears the legal path to getting on with this. For, while “Beep, beep” might be lexicographically correct, the fact is that the spoken form of the phrase (and the only form that counts as, according to the hero of these classic films, roadrunners can’t read) is clearly, Meep, meep! Even the person who voiced this dialog says that “Beep” is incorrect.
I hope that the citizens of the state will get behind me on this. Do we really want some bland Latin phrase that no one is really sure how to pronounce? Wouldn’t the zen-like proclamation of a representation of our state bird resonate more with our souls as people who were annexed by the United States in the 19th century and who are often still thought of as foreigners in their own land? Imagine, a stadium full of people watching a football game. As the New Mexico team scores, the crowd rises in unison (for even the opponents couldn’t help but be caught up in the reverie) and shouts with pride: MEEP! MEEP! It’s enough to make the body shake with the power of those words, and for tears to well up in eyes filled with a fulfillment of victory.
The time has come to abandon silly old Latin pretension and instead embrace the spirit that is New Mexico. It is time to embrace the fact that we aren’t like the other states. We are the spoils of war. On our soil was born the first atomic weapon (which was also detonated on our soil). In every definition of the states of the west, we are there. We have that independent spirit that can’t be restrained by something as staid and antiquated as “It grows as it goes.” No, our character is more independent and more tolerant of that independence. We need to show that to the rest of the country and to the world. I say that we New Mexicans must rise up and shout proudly into the wind a new voice of freedom! MEEP, MEEP!
Join with me! Let your cry be head on the streets, in letters, in the supermarkets, in the fairs, at the malls. Chances like this don’t happen often, but now is the time. With the shock of the new millennium behind us, it’s time to speed on into the future with confidence. The sound of that advance is recognized everywhere, from the streets of Santa Fe, to the dachas of Russia, and even on the ice in Antarctica. When you stand up straight, square your shoulders, and say from the heart, “Meep, meep”, people around the world and beyond will know that you come from a place that is always forward moving.
New Mexicans, wherever you might be, it’s time to end your silence. Even those not native to our land, if you are feeling the need to say these words of strength, then you definitely have New Mexico in your heart. All of you, you know the words are desperately trying to burst from you. Don’t hold it back any longer. If you can say the words, then you are the words. So everyone, let’s start our campaign without delay. Don’t be shy. It all starts at this moment. All together now, on 3: 1…2…3…MEEP, MEEP!