Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lessons From A Dream

The Dream

I was driving down a narrow passage, a dirt road with only room for one vehicle at a time; on both sides was a wall (or sometimes a wooden fence) with barbed wire on top. "This is the U.S.?" I asked. "This little section?" It was the United States, and on either side was Mexico. I was still in my country, though heading deep into a land more foreign than most Americans want to believe. We (or was it just me) were in an auto, and the "road" we were on was a bumpy ride. Suddenly a large vehicle, headlights glaring, appeared and headed right for us (for we were now more than one). No time or place to swerve to avoid the steel behemoth. In that second before certain disaster I remembered a joke:

Driving to work, a gentleman had to swerve to avoid a box that fell out of a truck in front of him. Seconds later, a policeman pulled him over for reckless driving. Fortunately, another officer had seen the carton in the road. The policemen stopped traffic and recovered the box. It was found to contain large upholstery tacks.

"I'm sorry sir," the first trooper told the driver, "but I am still going to have to write you a ticket."

Amazed, the driver asked for what.

The trooper replied, "Tacks evasion."

The monster on wheels was suddenly gone, and I was on foot now, walking, with dad beside me. What was the point or purpose of this? But dad was walking with determination, like that time he kept on going after we reached the corner where we normally turned to go home (we were out on a walk then too, but just in the neighborhood, down to the grocery store and back), and off he walked, keeping pace with a black stranger who happened to be going the same way. What is going on, I wondered at the time. Should I wait here at the corner or just go home? He had not said a word to me, just followed the black guy down the hill. My mind was confused, but I walked the short block to the house, let myself in, and waited. I seemed to wait a long time, then heard the sound of footsteps on the deck, the key in the door.

"Had to show that guy I could out walk him. By the second block I was way ahead of him", dad declared.

So what was he up to this time? Where was he going now? Why did we seem to be heading deeper and deeper into Mexican territory? And then the road ran out and before us stood a wall. A metal sign with a fading stars and stripes waving in a painted breeze and hanging loosely from the crumbling bricks, greeted us with these words: YOU ARE STILL IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

"Not for long," said dad, and then he went over the wall. I followed, but with difficulty. Once on the ground, I was greeted by a town that looked like something out of the old west, but with a modern, run-down Mexican flare. On the Mexico side of the wall we'd just scrambled over were murals of U.S. icons; Abe Lincoln and Mark Twain; the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore. There were also little cutouts of the fifty states. One had written on it New York, and another, Illinois. There were more, but I paid them no more attention.

It was dark now and I was filled with trepidation. What would happen if we were seen? We didn't belong here, did we? Dad motioned, leading me in the falling darkness. We crept to a doorway. "This is it", he whispered. Before I knew what was happening, he'd used his mail-order lock-pick kit to open the door.

Inside we found ourselves in a single room, with no furnishings of any kind, just a filthy old mattress lying on the dirty, wooden floor. Dad pointed to a spot on the floor in front of the mattress. He reached down and lifted a board, revealing below a metal plate and beneath that a hole with a box inside. He carefully removed the box, lifting it slowly out. I was still nervous, glancing everywhere for possible trouble, eyeing the door, which I noticed was slightly ajar. Meanwhile dad was working the box, finally using his trusty knife to break it open. In the dim light I could not see what had him so interested, so excited. Paper? No, not just any paper; this was government paper; money!

It was a Ralph Kramden moment. The poor soul finding their dreams fulfilled in a "scheme", a get-rich-quick ticket to freedom. No more boss, no more hated job, no more getting up every god damned morning to an alarm clock.

"This is what we've been waiting for, this is it!" Dad was ready to get going, but suddenly someone was in the tiny room with us. At first only a shadow, it gradually emerged as a human being. A tall man, medium build, white hair but not old. Fair complexion, dark eyes, a mustache without beard, a stern, unforgiving face. He wore the uniform of a produce clerk, but held no fruits or vegetables in his big, meaty hands. When he spoke it was with a distinct Latin accent.

"I am going to call the police," was all he had a chance to say. I picked up a two by four that just happened to be lying near my feet. I was no longer thinking, I was reacting, instinctively, as one would if they were fighting off an attacking, wild animal. This person was out to destroy me and someone I loved, with no regard to the suffering we might endure. Therefore it was a fight, if necessary, to the death, and I hit him hard with my makeshift weapon, hammering away until I'd bashed his skull in and blood covered the floor.

And then I woke up. It was part nightmare, part naked in public dream.

The Lessons

I hate borders, or I have at least come to dislike them greatly, especially recently. There are of course conflicts within, the tribal instinct (language, borders, culture) vying with the individualistic desire for complete freedom from the unjust control of anyone. Part of me wants to be the all-American patriot, fighting the foreign, non-English speaking invasion from the south. But I now hate all governments more, and this includes both the US and Mexican states. I had a friend lost down south once, forced to try Mexico City to find work, longing to go home, but with passport expired. I thought maybe I could travel there, but alas, I too was without the proper papers for travel to another country. Even had I had them, I could not have stayed there. You must have independent income of at least 1000.00 a month to stay in Mexico. They have their rules too, and non-Mexicans can not just go there and stay for very long without meeting the government's requirements. It is now my belief that anyone should be free, as a human being and citizen of planet earth, to go where they will, as long as some private individual, group or organization invites them. That's freedom, and the state is freedoms enemy. ALL GOVERNMENTS CAN GO TO HELL! Lesson One: all state borders should be abolished.

I know someone who recently encountered the police. A detective came to her door and showed her a photograph. Do you know this guy? She answered yes she did indeed. He was the son of the man who lives across the street. The cop said he had an outstanding warrant and if she saw him would she be good enough to call, here is my cop card, that is my name and number, call me and rat out the poor slob so we can send him to prison and laugh while the well paid guards do nothing to stop his pretty blonde ass from being brutally raped.

You see, his "crime" was the non-violent retailing of substances that others were freely willing to part with cash to acquire. This made him an enemy of the state, and more than that, the property of the state (as we all are) because if you can not do what you want as long as you are not violating anyone else's rights, then you are nothing but a slave.

Unfortunately, this woman called the cops as soon as she saw the young man pull up to his father's house one afternoon. He was arrested, handcuffed, and put into the back of a gestapo police car. Lesson Two: never cooperate with the cops; the cops are the bad guys and they have not been your friends for a very long time now.

Money makes the world go 'round, or so they say. Try living without it for awhile. Money doesn't make you happy, but please let me prove it, I'll be a willing guinea pig. Lesson Three: if you try to get funds that don't belong to you, you will be considered a thief, unless, that is, your name is AIG, Bank of America, General Motors, Ford, well, you get the idea. To those who have always suspected that capitalism equals fascism, the recent federal bailouts (with more, no doubt, to come) prove the equation perfectly, and the ugly truth that our economic system has nothing to do with free markets or free enterprise. The little guy (this includes you, Joe the Plumber) always gets screwed by the plutocrats. Oh, and by the way, Joe, that ruling class includes that filthy rich bastard hero of yours, John "bailout" McCain. He knows which side he is on. Do you, Joe?

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