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Drolette: They’re Shocked, Shocked They Tell You

They’re Shocked, Shocked They Tell You

by Mark Drolette

They’re everywhere.

Even in Costa Rica.

Which is where I was recently for the fifth time to check on my house construction and also officially become a legal resident of the country which, among other things, now allows me, for about forty bucks a month, to join its national health care system under which I will be fully covered medically, pre-existing conditions be damned. (You know, just like how we do it in America.)

That’s right; Costa Rica doesn’t care that I’m asthmatic or have been married three times. (If multiple marriages don’t sound like a health issue to you, you’ve obviously not met any of my exes.)

OK, then, so on with it: who are these “they”?

Shh! “They” are America’s real enemies:

Bush supporters.

I knew I was in trouble the moment I met them at the bed and breakfast at which I was lodging for a week. See, I have a well-developed sick sense, one that allows me to detect the unmistakable stench of fascism.

I see brain-dead people.

One of the B&B’s operators, a friend, introduced me to three other guests at the beginning of my visit: a man and two women who were traveling together. Their accents, combined with a certain air, raised my first alert.

When my amigo mentioned I was moving soon to Costa Rica, the inevitable question arose:

“Why?” they asked.


Silence. Frozen smiles. Change of subject.

No me gustan, we have a problem.

Dinner at the inn later was peppered with enough “Praise Gods,” bible references and personal miracle witnessing to confirm my life’s karma account is still clearly in deficit.

(Maybe it was that third marriage. Or the second. Or the…)

Though I periodically encountered these individuals over the next few days, the subject of politics was thankfully avoided.

I wasn’t always so disinclined to join the fray, oh no not by a long shot.

During the two years I regularly wrote political satire for various ‘Net sites (until spring 2006), I was, of course, immersed in politics. But after deciding I could no longer abide the paranoia-laced, open-air insane asylum known as America and that I needed to get the hell out, I chose to focus my time and energy on doing just that. It wasn’t easy laying politics aside but, after much internal struggle and many discussions with others, I have (pretty much) managed to do it.

Try as I might, though, sometimes there’s just no avoiding it.

Even in Costa Rica.

Minutes before leaving for the airport at the end of my visit, as I ate breakfast, one of the women entered the kitchen.

“So…you’re going back to work on Monday?” she asked.

“Yes. Arnold needs me,” I replied sardonically.

(This would be Arnold Schwarzenazi, who is ultimately my boss as I am employed by the State of California.)

“Tell me,” she drawled, “what do the people of California think of Arnold?”

“Well,” I rejoined evenly, “apparently seventy percent of the voters think he’s doing just fine. Personally, it makes me embarrassed to be from the state.”


“Well, we voted for Bush.”

Another pause.


The kicker:

“Who knew?”

Old, familiar rage welled up quickly from within. I actually dropped my fork.

Who knew?

Who knew??

It was all I could do to spit out through gritted teeth: “Well, I knew. And lots of people I know, knew.”

But it was pointless to get into it, regardless how irate I was, for one thing I (finally) learned about right-wingers before semi-retiring the columnar keyboard was that it was an utter waste of time trying to “debate” them. It eventually became apparent, whether I’d spent hours composing well-constructed, painstakingly-sourced responses to flamers’ kooky cutter e-mails or gone toe-to-toe with a co-worker on the workroom floor, that America’s good Germans were always thrown by, and refused to respond to, certain annoying technicalities I always meanly and deliberately insisted on including in my arguments:


Yeah, who knew?

Who knew, for instance, that wooden drones couldn’t fly non-stop from Iraq, penetrate American airspace and then deliver their massive individual payloads of approximately two liters of Roundup®? (Lest you laugh, don’t forget: this was the new, improved, extra-strength formula.)

Or who knew that Bushco’s official embrace of the use of torture could ever tarnish the image America loves to project, that of being a highly-civilized country, that, you know, officially disdains the use of torture?

Who knew Bush and company would, every chance they got, shred the Constitution clause by clause, acting like they considered it to be nothing more than, say, just a goddamned piece of paper as well as a major irritant to their grandiose dreams of world corporate domination because, well…those are the very things they considered it?

Who knew the war in Iraq was really all about, after Hussein’s ouster, moving U.S. military forces from Saudi Arabia (whose long-term presence there had been causing our good friends in the House of Saud some rather sticky internal problems) and onto permanent bases in Iraq so America could then indefinitely sit pretty atop Iraq’s oil tap? (Other than those, that is, who took the time to read even a few paragraphs of the treatise from the Project for the New American Century [PNAC] called “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” that clearly laid the whole thing out one full year before 9/11.)

Who knew the Bushies were capable of treasonously outing a CIA agent and then, gasp!, lying about it?

Who knew Bush would more than double Hussein’s body count and keep those who toil in the mass graves business workin’ big-time on their dig time? (I’ll admit, I misunderestimated Dubya’s score on this one. I saw a sign at one of the 2003 pre-war marches in San Francisco that said “500,000 will die” and thought: “OK, that guy’s a little high.” Turns out, even he was low-balling.)

Who knew the proposition that the creatures who ru(i)n this country are in reality children-sacrificing, reptilian shape-shifters would end up as plausible as any for explaining why these heinous monsters do what they do?

(If this one’s accurate, I know a couple of little hellions they could start off with in the apartment next door.)

Who knew the cracked neocon-backed attack on Iran wouldn’t turn out so hot, unless, that is, you’re talking about the radioactivity released by the beyond-the-pale-nuts-even-for-them-and-that’s-really-saying-something use of nuclear weapons? (Whoops; this one hasn’t happened. Yet.)

Gosh almighty. Who, indeed, could have known any of this, or so very much more?

It was only inevitable, of course, that when Bush and his insane handlers finally got so out of control and the situation became so dire that their lunacy would be obvious to all but the most moronic (in other words, Dubya himself and others with similar IQs, like eggplants), we would then get from former Bushco supporters what I heard in Costa Rica, this utterly execrable insouciant self-absolution of any personal responsibility in the whole sickening, murderous affair.

It was only a matter of time, too, before the supremely self-satisfied, denial-drenched architects of the mad mayhem themselves began furiously backpedaling and breaking out the sharp blades best suited for insertion into the closest available back. In the January issue of Vanity Fair, David Rose records these U-turns from a whole nest of neoconservatives:

Longtime neocon Kenneth Adelman complains the Bush administration “national-security team” “turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the [post-WWII] era. Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional.” (It is hard to take, I guess, if you can’t have your cakewalk and bleat it, too.)

Former Defense Policy Board chairman and general all-around vile thing Richard Perle points the finger at “opposition” and “disloyalty” within the administration for helping produce the fiasco in Iraq. Poor Perle’s particularly piqued regarding hurtful accusations he’s cruelly had to endure: “Huge mistakes were made, and I want to be very clear on this: they were not made by neoconservatives, who had almost no voice in what happened, and certainly almost no voice in what happened after the downfall of the regime in Baghdad. I’m getting damn tired of being described as an architect of the war.”

PNAC charter member Frank Gaffney blames “skulduggery” and “palpable insubordination” at the White House for Iraq gone wild. Fellow PNACer Eliot A. Cohen gee whizzes he “wouldn’t be surprised if what we end up drifting toward [in Iraq] is some sort of withdrawal on some sort of timetable and leaving the place in a pretty ghastly mess.”

Actually, I can relate to all these guys: back in the day, I remember how miffed I’d get whenever I’d use my considerable influence to push for war for years and then it, like, happened and stuff.

I mean, ‘cause, really -- who knew?

What made crossing paths with the unapologetic Bushites in Costa Rica even more unpalatable but so characteristic was the public piety they displayed at the dinner table. Though this is only supposition, it’s not a stretch to think at least part of the reason they backed Bush is because of his purported born-againism.

If that’s what Christianity is all about, please, direct me to the nearest pentagram. (I’m sure there’s one in Cheney’s office.)

Hypocrisy has always oozed from these types and has long been what I detest about them most. So it’s not surprising in the least to hear the excuses fly now about how it’s all turned to so much ashes and how oh how could they have ever seen it coming?

After all, who knew?

Unh-uh. Sorry. Not so fast. Just as Hitler wouldn’t have gotten as far as he did without solid support from and constant acquiescence by the German populace in the face of ongoing domestic and then, cross-border horrors, so neither would the Bush administration have been able to, in an astonishingly short time, dismantle just about everything that was good and decent about this admittedly deeply flawed but had-a-chance nation without the aid, whether overt or otherwise, provided by tens of millions of belligerently nationalistic, xenophobic, morally twisted, historically ignorant, scared-of-their-own-shadows Americans.

On a personal level, here’s the worst part: the trio of Bush fans I met in Costa Rica were there to seriously scout land for purchase, property that is very close to mine on which to live at least part-time, so it is likely our paths will cross often in the future.

Thus, in effect, they are fleeing the very mess they helped create, landing with a very loud thud right near me. If there were any justice in this world, these three and millions like them would be precluded from forever leaving the States and forced to work their asses off trying to right the ship that is America from sinking under the dead weight with which they’ve so willingly loaded it these last few benighted years.

But as we all know, justice is in very short supply these days.

It’s fair to ask what my responsibility is. Don’t I, as an American citizen, have a duty to stay and fight the good fight alongside the millions of fine, dedicated folks who are determined to do just that?

As I wrote in an earlier column, we all gotta do what we all gotta do. For one thing, I am very excited about the possibilities that await me in lovely, welcoming Costa Rica. For another, I’m not the first to leave his or her country of birth from disgust and I sure as hell won’t be the last. I take solace I’ll be in good company.

Except for when, of course, I unfortunately find it polluted by the presence of those who, after willingly signing off on years of Bushit, now attempt to plead ignorance regarding the ramifications, looking for a free pass they don’t ever deserve.

Even in Costa Rica.


Mark Drolette is a writer who lives (but not for long!) in Sacramento, California. His first book -- Why Costa Rica? Why the hell not? -- based on a certain gringo’s real-life adventure with a bunch of lies thrown in, will be available once it’s finished, published and then becomes available.

Copyright © 2007 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.

P.S. Thank you, Molly Ivins. Rest in peace.

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