Only One New Nation in the Heart of Downtown?
A BEAST Reader Opinion
By Silvia Prudenceshire
You know what? I don’t gamble, never cared
for it. Gambling’s for suckers and I’m no sucker. No, not even the
siren song of OTB or loose nickel slots have steered my mighty Land
Rover onto the rocky crags. Good thing too; my insurance would never
cover that. However, the thought of international travel, just down
the road – what a rush! It’s like a foreign family moving in next
door, and bringing their entire country with them. Imagine the culture,
the cuisine! Should we bring them a welcome gift? But this time,
ixnay on the allpoxsmay!
Now, I know a lot of people hoot n’ holler over
this kind of thing. “It will decimate the tax base, local businesses
will get hit the hardest, henny penny the sky is falling!” These
are glass-half-empty kind of people. It’s not just about inexpensive
alcohol and cigarettes, or the futilely slim chance of bettering
your pathetic financial existence, but also the majesty and wonder
of having an exotic culture at our door step; the maize, the lounge
acts, the wampum, the Great Spirit and all of that. We’ll never
have a drought problem again!
If only we had other nations buying up prime real
estate – we are the City of Good Neighbors, after all – all of our
problems could be solved. Outsourced Delphi jobs, eventual Ford
Plant losses, the curious lack of locally
ground rhinoceros horn? You bet! Not a Chinatown – China. Not a
little Botswana – Botswana. Let’s sell parcels of land to every
nation willing! We would be a shining beacon of globalization and
free market enterprise. Let’s fill those old grain silos with adorable
Indonesian children to sew our clothing, and assemble exotic tax
free electronic goods. In turn, Buffalonians will find employment prodding the children into
meeting their numbers, and guarding the high razor wire fences.
And who do you think will get the contracts to build those fences?
The smart money is on us.
Once we’ve created a local global microcosm (take
that, Epcot Center!), with all of these various nations’ labor laws,
or better yet lack thereof, there is no telling what we could accomplish!
And by “we,” I of course mean them. We could tear down the skyway
on the cheap using pipe bomb wielding Pakistani kids who get paid
in chocolate; we could develop the waterfront on the sweaty backs
of Honduran nationals; we could connect UB to the city via Malaysian
rickshaws; we could start our own child sex industry—no more expensive
trips to Thailand!
Colonialism in reverse, introspective imperialism,
call it what you will; the sky’s the limit. It would provide our
depleted city with all the much needed revenue-generating tourism
we could handle; from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maine, Kentucky
– all over the country! Who wouldn’t hop at the chance to tour 50
exotic countries by bus in less than a day’s time – and still get
to sleep in a good old American Hyatt at night? You can bet I would.
I know what you glass-half-empty types are thinking:
“What about all the foreign goods being sold with no benefit to
Buffalo’s tax base; what will people do when they lose their job
at the Ford plant to citizens of our new Chinese province?” Forget
about the initial cash injection from land sales; think of the money
to be made in parking tickets alone! It would put an end to outsourcing.
Your job wouldn’t go to India, India would come to your job, and
when India moves in on the corner of Broadway and Michigan, who’s
going to have the good old fashioned American ingenuity to sell
them henna and saris? The throat-singing Mongolians
that will hopefully buy the Convention Center? I think not
– they’re not even American. But they can harvest silk for pennies
on the dollar.
If we play our cards right, this city could finally
benefit from globalization – by bringing it just a little closer
to home. We would be the North American hub of retail. And if all
else fails; we could simply reacquire the land through deceit, downright
theft and systematic genocide. Hey – it’s worked before. Let’s do