SHOULD I GO OR SHOULD I STAY?
Only one time in my life have I seriously considered moving to another country. It was during the Viet Nam War and I had drawn a low Selective Service (Draft) Lottery number (153) and was called up for my induction physical. (BTW I’m in favor of re-instituting the Draft since it might make all the gung ho wazoo keyboard warriors who think war is so great and wonderful face the reality of getting their brains blown out in some Middle Eastern desert.) I had, like many young men my age at the time, considered decamping to Canada since I believed that as so many others did that the War in Viet Nam was not only unjust but a total waste of American lives.
As it turned out, luckily (Praised Be To The Christian Jesus And The Hindu Lakshmi!) I didn’t have to make this decision. The Draft Board made it for me by classifying me as 4-F – unfit for active duty. And, yes, I breathed one great big enormous sigh of relief and either went out and got rip roaring drunk or toked up and floated into the stratosphere after I leaned the results. (I can’t recall which but both were options at the time.)
But once again I am contemplating decamping from the United States of America. Why? Well, if Donald J. Trump is elected the country’s President you will see a trail of white contrails come November 9th as I jet my way out of here. Actually this is not entirely true. I’ve been considering moving permanently to India (a country where I spend four or five months every year) or Mexico (a country I have more recently fallen madly in love with). Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I dislike America. I love America just not the Hillary/Barack haters and the Trumpettes. I still believe that America is by far, bar none, the greatest country on Planet Earth. And I’ve worked in or visited more than 30 other countries in the world so I do have something by which to gauge the relative benefits of living here as opposed to other places. France, for example, is one of my favorite countries but living there would bust my 401(k) quicker than a raccoon busting into a chicken coop. Djibouti? Nah. Zimbabwe? One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen and with truly wonderful inhabitants to boot. But with Mugabe and me being White? No thanks.
Back when George Bush (II) was running for President. the popular campaign meme was “Who Would You Rather Sit Down And Have A Beer With?” The choice was between a picnic table on the Bush ranch in some Central Texas plain with wind driven tumbleweed scooting by or in some Tea And Crumpets Upscale Café in Midtown Manhattan with Al Gore? With all due respect to Texans (although I admit to not much respect – Voter ID, Planned Parenthood, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz - although this year they seem to be edging more toward sanity and common sense) I would have chosen listening to Gore rattle on through the night with policy patter and lectures on Global Warming. But, hey, that’s just me. If you would have preferred a Heineken with Bush, hey, go for it. Just remember that he gave us the bogus War In Iraq and the Fucking Shithole That Is The Middle East Today. So call me weird. That’s just who I am.
I’m sure that all of you have heard horror stories about drug lords, drug wars, kidnappings, murders and all sorts of horrific tales about Mexico and Mexicans. And, of course, The Donald has only added to the sliming of Mexico. But here’s my experience in that country to our South. I’ve visited Mexico maybe five or six times. I’ve been to Baja California, the Yucatan, the Mexican Rivera, and have travelled around most of the country excepting the areas close to the U.S. border where, indeed, drug shit and murders are as common as worms in Tequila bottles. Mexico City is one of the most interesting and vibrant cities I have ever visited. Couple of years ago, I was in Mexico City on Halloween. As a decidedly Catholic country, All Souls Eve is huuuge. I joined a crowd of roughly 500,000 (my unscientific estimate) other souls jamming the Avenue of the Revolution in downtown Mexico City along with dozens of street bands, food merchants, trinket sellers, theater groups, mimes, etc. It was slow going due to the crush of families with kids decked out in scary costumes, adults too, but the mood of the huuuge crowd was celebratory, festive, friendly and polite. The whole thing was like a giant mosh pit at an AC/DC rock concert but without the noise and violence. At some point I thought: “Damn, if this had been anywhere back in the States, there would be beer bottles flying, fisticuffs and guys trashing and tearing things up.”
Having once spent three months traveling around Mexico, I stumbled upon San Miguel de Allende which is a three hour bus ride – on a much more comfortable and modern bus than those from Bolt Bus - from Mexico City. San Miguel is a World Heritage Site and deservedly so. It is an historic and beautiful small city full of cathedrals, museums, galleries, restaurants, narrow cobblestone streets and a veritable cornucopia of sights, sounds and delights. Plus, it’s full of friendly brown skinned Mexicans. Architecturally it is a gem. The only drawback is on weekends when the normally quiet and peaceful streets are jammed with Cadillac Escalades and Lincoln Navigators from all the wealthy folks who drive up from the Capital.
But the main reason for my considering moving permanently to Mexico is because it’s cheap. My limited savings will last a lot longer there than they will here in the States. And while up here one gets the idea that Mexico is some third world country, nothing could be further from reality. Mexicans enjoy a far lower crime rate than the U.S. There are excellent medical facilities. You can buy anything there that you can buy here. (Just for less money.) Sure, it’s no paradise on earth maybe, but I’ve met several Americans and Europeans over the years who have retired there and to a person they all love it. What you may not know is that there are communities of retired North Americans dotted around Mexico. Loreto, in Baja California, is one of them and I spent a month there. It’s a beautiful countryside with lots of beaches on the Gulf. But I don’t want to surround myself with other Americans just like me. What fun is that?
So we’ll see what happens next Tuesday and if the results accelerate my moving plans. But now that I think about it, maybe I shouldn’t sing the praises of that nasty, ugly, crime riddled, drenched in poverty, violence prone nation across our Southern border. Too many Americans will only drive up prices on everything!
Have A Great Day Folks!