�Ooh -- muy bonita!�
cooed the young saleswoman in San Ram�n, Costa Rica.
She was examining the paint she�d just mixed, obviously
impressed with the results of her labor. Me, I wasn�t so sure. How would the
bright reddish-brown hue (�Quite Coral�) look on the support columns of my new
hillside casa whose exterior was a
vivid baby blue?
Quite coral, as it turned out. And quite good, too, I mused.
As for what my gringo neighbors
thought, who knew? Then again -- who cared? My house is in the tropics, hence
its tropical colors. Besides, a primary reason for my impending move to Costa
Rica is to experience anew something decidedly deceased in America: Freedom.
A few days later as I was driving back into Sacramento from
the airport, I remembered the paint episode while passing the endless,
look-alike suburbs �inspired� by the faux Taco Bell school of architecture
(only without the classiness of the original), moribund conglomerations whose
CCRs thankfully at least provide residents a variety of wildly indulgent
exterior colors from which to choose: �Which would you prefer, Mrs. Jones: the
drab, or the less drab?�
Welcome to the Stultifying States of America, where
incurious conformity is king and individualism is proof of Satan�s existence.
How did we get here? Well, �tweren�t by accident:
America�s ruling elites, despite all their flag-waving
lip-flapping to the contrary, in truth have long secretly admired Europe�s
basic economic system. �Course, this would be the Europe of a few centuries
ago, and the system, feudalism. These �ber-wealthy ache to recreate those
halcyon days right here in America and, through a decades-long,
well-orchestrated scheme of suppressing wages, eliminating pension plans,
slashing benefits, weakening unions and manipulating markets, are close to
realizing their dream.
The massive transfer of wealth and gutting of a too-large
middle class (for their liking) have been abetted marvelously well by an
unquestioning, deliberately undereducated, jingoistic, religion-addled,
knee-jerk consuming citizenry rendered sufficiently inert by the average 2.4
electronic doping tubes inside their over-mortgaged death boxes to deaden even
token objection to wars waged non-stop in their names to keep the whole sick
Besides, it�s much easier meekly allowing one�s lifeblood to
be sucked slowly dry while sleepwalking through life, mindlessly discarding
precious days one by one, thereby handing to the Matrix owners on an evermore
silver platter exactly what they desire: obeisant consumer/workers whose fear
of not belonging assures an even greater paucity of dissent.
Ah, conformity: it�s the stuff that drones are made of.
I knew Americans� desire to fall in line was terminal (both
for liberty and lives) the night in June 2003 I was attending a Giants-Dodgers
game. I stood for the seventh-inning stretch to sing �Take Me Out to the
Ballgame� only to hear the public address announcer ask that caps be removed
for the playing of �God Bless America,� a ploy instantly recognizable as an
effort by Major League Baseball, with corporate America�s blessings, to promote
unquestioning nationalism at contests countrywide three months into the U.S. occupation
of Iraq. After refusing to comply, I heard angry shouts of �Take off your hat!�
In San Francisco, no less.
Creativity-snuffing standardized school exams; cloned
clutches of fast food joints materializing every three miles like some garish Twilight Zone scene with anonymous strip
malls devouring what remains; sexual repression so thick and twisted god forbid
a nipple appear on TV but eviscerations are just hunky gory, while in the
(sur)real world the same desensitized viewers yawn off a million dead Iraqis
whose only crime was to live in a land awash with oil; slavish-like adherence
to the number one conformity-former of all time, religion, resulting in legions
of frozen-smile, fanatical fatheads who�d rather believe in fairy tales
(cribbed from ages-old legends and poorly retold at that) than think critically
and who wouldn�t recognize a true Christian value if it refused to smite �em on
either cheek -- all of it, and myriad more, produce a populace so petrified of
fresh thought it�s only a matter of time before we start seeing witch-burning
again. (No doubt available on Barbecue Pay-Per-View.)
I�ve had it. I�m through living amidst millions of
compulsive rules-followers convinced since infancy that one size fits all. I am
different. I love being different. I want to surround myself with people who
are different. I want to live in a country so different it doesn�t crow about
loving peace while slaughtering millions, but rather one that proves it by
having constitutionally abolished its military 58 years ago.
I want to revel in my difference; write what I want to
write; go where I want to go; say what I want to say; fuck who I want to fuck
and have no one, be it government, society or religious freaks, tell me I
can�t, nor have hanging over my head the threat of lifetime imprisonment should
some silver-spooned loon, who insanely thinks he really is the president, decide to disappear me forever if, say, he reads*
this article and determines that my stating the obvious about a country that
long ago lost its spiritual way somehow supports terrorism or isn�t funny
enough. (Considering today�s theme, the latter is a distinct possibility.)
Oh, and yes: I want to be able to paint my house a bright
baby blue with quite coral columns.
*Correction: has it read to him.
� 2007 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.