Between The Lines

NM Overcomes ‘Land of Mañana Handicap,’ Finally Re-opens For Business

Maybe it’s cultural — a kind of victim’s pride in being last and basking in the pity from good sports who share their limelight with the least deserving. 


It seemed odd when Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham factored in a 10% “Land of Mañana Handicap” when she set a goal of at least partially vaccinating 60% of the state by June 17. 

The national threshold set by the Biden Administration of 70% was too damn high, apparently.

But then we further padded the goal by counting 16 and 17 year olds in our vaccination statistics despite the national goal counting only those 18 and over. And if that wasn’t enough, we tried bribes, offering $10 million in a cringe-inducing “Vax 2 the Max” sweepstakes, and $100 per person for getting vaccinated.

We still failed.

For most people, that might hurt — so little return despite so much effort— but in a world where everybody gets a trophy and losing gets more sympathy than winning earns praise, you have to wonder if failure for some people feels like victory. Lujan Grisham, for her part, seemed unfazed. 

The point of the June 17 deadline was to provide a two-week buffer for vaccines to take effect before fully re-opening the state on July 1. By that logic, Plan B would have simply added two weeks to whatever date the state eventually hit the 60% goal. 

Lujan Grisham has been called many things, but logical she is not.

On June 23 when New Mexico finally hit the arbitrary 60% goal, a two-week window allowing vaccines to take effect would have pushed our re-open date to July 7. 

The governor had other plans: she had announced back on June 18, the day after the state balked at her bribes to play guinea pig for Big Pharma, that we would open July 1 regardless of when we hit the 60% goal.

If your head is spinning, it’s because you’re paying attention.

With the exception of Hawaii, which is more Land of Mañana than the Land of Mañana is, New Mexico is last to re-open. While several states have hit the Biden Administration’s 70% goal, most didn’t come close, and New Mexico still isn’t there.

But that hasn’t stopped us from celebrating. 

The New Mexico Department of Health boasted on June 29 that “70% of New Mexicans 16+ who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine,” as if that meant something. 

“After hitting our 60% goal (sic), we continue to make steady progress.”

— DOH Cabinet Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins.

We even got a shoutout from Forbes.com, “All 16 States That Have Hit Biden’s Vaccine Goal Voted For Him In 2020,” listing New Mexico as one of the proud blue states to meet Biden’s goal “of partially or fully inoculating at least 70% of their adults by July 4.”

This wasn’t true, of course. When the article was written, on June 22, 2021, New Mexico hadn’t hit its 60% goal, let alone Biden’s 70% one. Even by June 28 the New Mexico Department of Health statistics put us at 69.1% partially vaccinated, and that included 16 and 17 year olds.

It may not have been accurate journalism, but it sure was nice to know that even if we cook the books, bribe our residents, and still fail to meet our own lower-than-standard goals and arbitrary due dates, the press will still give us a sympathetic pat on the head for bringing up the rear…again.

NM Dept. of Health Website screen grab (June 28, 2021)

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