Yet another 4th of July approaches, a holiday on which we
all commemorate America�s big, shiny image of itself by emulating what it does
best: Spend lots of money to blow stuff up.
It appears this�ll be my last opportunity to celebrate
independence. No, I�m not dying, or getting married again. (Redundant. Sorry.)
Nope. I�m moving to Costa Rica.
Why Costa Rica?
That�s the short answer.
Come to think of it, that�s pretty much the long answer,
Oh sure, there�s Costa Rica�s clean water, stunning scenery,
beautiful weather, welcoming people, rich flora and fauna, high literacy rate,
cheap cost of living, peaceful history . . .
But other than that, it doesn�t have much going for it.
Whoops, almost forgot: It�s also had no military since 1949,
choosing for more than a half century to take the money it would have spent for
weapons to kill people and, well, blow stuff up, and apply it instead toward
foo-faws like education and, horrors!,
Can you imagine such folly? Contrast that with the United
States, the proud defender of every human�s fundamental right to watch America�s Most Vapid Videos and consume
without conscience, and where $1.228 trillion will be spent this year on
�defense� while 47 million go without health care and the average
high school student has the comprehension level of a tire iron (with apologies
to the latter).
Yet I still want
Call me crazy.
Whatever; I can�t take it anymore. Actually, I began
planning two years ago to move to Central America after deciding I could no
longer abide the murderous cloud of American fascism. (I�m gone for good next
Yikes! Did I just use the �f� word? Might the right rightly
accuse me of hysteria by trotting it out and thereby insinuating corporate and
Bush administration interests are one and the same? Perhaps, but let�s go to
Benito Mussolini said it best (and he oughta know, or did,
at least, before getting hung up one day at a service station in Milan which,
of course, made him late): �Fascism should . . . be called corporatism because
it is the merger of state and corporate power.�
Methinks Benito and our own little business-beholden,
tinpot(ty) dictator have something in common.
Il Duce, meet Ill Dunce.
Unchecked corporate sway over government isn�t fascism�s
only characteristic, of course; another is strident nationalism. No state�s
immune. Huey Long famously said, �When fascism comes to America, it will be
wrapped in the American flag.�
Meaning: keep an eye out. If you start noticing what seems
to be a sheep-like obsession with the Stars and Stripes and its image begins
appearing everywhere -- like, say, on cars, diapers, etc. -- there may be cause
Anymore, I can�t stand that flag. If I had any guts, I�d
have burned one in public long ago.
Heresy, you say? I say hear this: do you think those truly
in charge, the crony corporatists, give a crap about that damn banner or any
other, for that matter? For them, the bottom line is the bottom line, vastly dwarfing piffling considerations like
international law or what we once used for ours, the Constitution. (That�s for
the nostalgia buffs).
Additionally, how many people, cynically goaded by the
military industrialists� self-interested stock (market) rally cry of �Above
all: patriotism!� have needlessly killed and been killed in the name of that
stupid piece of cloth?
�Stop right there, America-hater,� I can hear it now (and
see it in my in-box), �it�s not the flag itself, it�s what it represents.�
My point exactly!
Because, anymore, this is what Old Gory, er, Glory, conjures
to thinking people worldwide: unprovoked war, imperialism, torture, secret
prisons, gluttonous consumption, disappearing civil rights (and just plain
disappearing), religious fanaticism, unparalleled corruption, relentless
propaganda, rigged elections, crippling racism and, as if that weren�t enough
(actually, it�s only a starter list), Americans criminally left to drown in their own homes. (Anyone
remember Katrina? The Bushies sure hope you don�t.)
�Why, you sniveling ingrate,� begins another common canard.
(I love debating myself.) �If you lived in China/Afghanistan/Texas and spoke
like that, you�d be getting deported/tortured/remarried right about now.�
(Admittedly, that last one does send shivers up my spine.)
To which I say: And if my aunt had testicles, she�d be my
uncle. (Although there were those
family rumors about Aunt Lucille -- �Lou,� for short; get it? -- but never mind
See, the point is, I don�t
live in those places, I live in America
(at least until April). So it�s kinda always made sense to address injustices
that happen here. Why suffer jet lag
and gag down lousy airline food just to go protest them somewhere else?
And, boy, how so many have tried to address them here via
countless protests, marches, rallies, donations, letters, e-mails, phone calls,
articles, meetings, petitions, discussions (with those with brains), arguments
(with those without; i.e. Republicans), etc.
Hell, some of us have even occasionally taken time to cast
votes whether they�ve been counted or not.
Yet where�s America? The wars rage on, the rot continues
and, worst of all, no more Sopranos.
(Thank goodness the Dems retook Congress. Else we�d be in a real fix.)
It�s almost enough to make a person want to flee to another
country, one where when you mention how ashamed you are to be from where you�re
from, they look at you for a long, gauging moment before saying: �We do not
understand why your country does what it does.�
And you can tell by their look they really don�t, which is
easy to understand because you don�t either.
True, Costa Rica�s no paradise; they still use paper
ballots, undoubtedly traceable to some primitive superstitious belief in fair
elections. Comically, this leaves them unable to �call� winners before polls
close as is done in truly advanced nations, like the U.S.
Worse, expending effort to actually tabulate said ballots
leads to embarrassing situations, like the one Costa Rica had in February 2006
when its presidential election resulted in a virtual deadlock and the victor
wasn�t known for weeks.
Sure, in the end they determined which guy got the most
votes but can you imagine if we insisted on that here? Think of all the time
lost to lobbyists in the interim that otherwise could have been used to bribe
the appropriate office holders.
Costa Rica has other drawbacks: Its government is notorious
for serving the people very slowly, unlike America�s which, you know, doesn�t
serve them at all. There�s also mucho petty
theft in Costa Rica whereas in the States ripping people off is done on a
monumental scale. Only it�s not called stealing; it�s called �corporate tax
Yeah, Costa Rica ain�t the United States, that�s for sure.
Which is exactly why I can�t wait to get there.
Copyright � 2007
Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.
Mark Drolette is a political satirist/commentator who
(for now) lives in Sacramento, California. His next book, �Why Costa Rica? Why
the hell not?� will also at last be his first. It will be available once it�s
finished, published and then made available. You can reach Mark at email@example.com.