Manifest Destiny, That Atrocious Ideal
A Wintertime Visit to a Onetime Nuclear Test Site Reveals the Lengths Americans Go to Own Whatever They Please
On the outskirts of Tularosa, New Mexico, I drove among sacred mountains. It was three days before Christmas, 2014, and it was over 70 degrees. With the A/C cranked, I passed the cookfires of shantytowns, children with strings of meat hanging from the ends of sticks, their parents drinking Coca-Cola from cool glass bottles, mezcal from plastic washtubs. Sheep grazed at the road shoulders. Skeletal motorcycles sashayed around buses laboring up the slopes.
My mouth was numbed with spice from pulverized …