The burning of the old years

Looking through my electronic archives, I found an article I wrote at the end of 2004 that was published by The Charlotte Observer on Jan. 1, 2005 about the tradition observed by the South American Andes people of burning the old years as a way to leave behind all the bad vibes of the previous 12 months.

With overwhelming nostalgia of the time I lived in Quito, I remembered how there, near the summit of the snow-covered mountains and 8,000 feet closer to the stars, the life-sized dummies created by the people using old clothes were instantly converted to ashes.

My reference to the old years has to do with the bad that happened to the Latino immigrants in North Carolina in 2004, a year I would have wanted to burn, just like they do in the chain of mountains down south.

That year began with the opening of bottles of champagne and the unwelcomed news that the undocumented would be no longer be able to obtain a driver's licence.

The administrative order from Raleigh indicated the new law would be effective on Feb. 2.

The Democratic governor had stopped paying attention to his Republican adversaries who accused him of being favorable to the immigrants.

Braving a brutal cold wave, thousands camped out in the snow in front of the 127 offices of the state Department of Motor Vehicles to get their licenses before the new regulations went into effect.

Activists from both sides of the political prism criticized the governor's initiative in which he argued in support of fixing a "broken" immigration system.

The Bush administration had no success in coming up with immigration reform. Now that we're in 2010, we're watiting for President Obama to fulfill his own campaign promise.

I just got a text message asking me to call (866) 974-8813 to ask the president to act on immigration reform.

I don't want to have to burn any more bad years.