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Fight of Flight

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
May 3, 1999


Fight or Flight, two very natural reactions to adversity and threat. In Columbine, students did their best to get out of harm's way. In Kosovo, flight is the response of ethnic Albanians to the ethnic cleansing being perpetrated by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. NATO's response has been to fight it, and America's response has been benign interest.

Currently, in Southern California we are experiencing a war of our own, a war against the environment and instead of dropping bombs, we drop strip-malls and beach resorts. Here, cleansing comes in the form of locals being chased from there homes by the ground troops of capitalism. In San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn is playing the role of Mr. Milosevic, and goddess knows he has a legion of propaganda ministers.

The other day a friend of mine called and wanted the definitive definition for the word ethnocentrism. Opening Webster's we found "the emotional attitude that one's ethnic group, nation, or culture is superior to all others." Now if this doesn't sound like the positioning of pro-growth development interests, I don't know what does.

And as effective as Serb troops are of displacing residents of Kosovo, so too are the agents of suburban sprawl. In North County, residents aren't forced from their homes at gun point, they are chased away by tourists, traffic, and a cost of living that takes no prisoners. Cultural cleansing in the name of progress has left many at odds to what to do next. Recently I have heard many of my neighbors planning their escape, but to where.

Cultural cleansing is sort of like ethnic cleansing, except you target a way of life rather than an ethnic group. Here in Leucadia, our little sleepy beach town is being overrun by those promoting tourism and the supporting commercialization that accompanies such an industry. Those seeking to improve our quality of life with hotels and resorts care nothing about the fact that the reason we live here is because we liked an uncrowded and slower pace of life. Imagine a culture that is not based on whoring itself to out of town visitors.

According to Webster's capitalism is "the economic system in which all or most of the means of production and distribution are privately owned and operated for profit, it has been generally characterized by a tendency toward concentration of wealth, and, in it's later phase, by the growth of great corporations and increased government control." If you are wondering how this applies to San Diego's North County, remember that Manchester Resorts and the Oceanside City Council want to place a private enterprise on public parkland.

Being a native of North County, I have never thought that this corner of the planet needed to be fixed. Any blight being experienced by local cities is more a result of poor planning by elected officials being led around by the nose by developers, if they themselves weren't developers themselves, then a lack of economic opportunities. The desire to bring a million tourists to the area is not about wanting to share our good fortune with the people of Nebraska. What it is about is greed, plain and simple.

I think it is safe to say that Doug Manchester want's to improve downtown Oceanside as much as Slobodan wants to improve the Balkans. And I'm sure both feel equally justified. Ethnocentrism is about erasing one type of life to replace it with one more conducive to your way of thinking. My question is when will NATO start dropping bombs on Oceanside City Hall.

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