Authoritarianism seems to be popular these days, or at least among those twenty-something percent of Americans who think the President is a swell guy. Recently, I had the good fortune to experience a bit of trickle down Deciderism at work right here in my own neighborhood. And then I got to see it smacked down hard by people who seem to have had enough of people trying to strip them of their freedom.

My neighborhood was built in the late 1970’s. It would have been a ‘development’ then, but now it’s just a nicely kept, diverse neighborhood where the houses don’t all look the same and the traffic is pretty tame. When it was new, the developers established a set of CCR’s that would regulate how people upgraded their homes and enforce certain ‘community standards’ like how long you could keep your garage door open or how often you cut your lawn or what color you painted your house. While not quite a complete HOA, it had all the earmarks of one. But over the years, the CCR’s were slowly abandoned, in part because there were now around 300 homes in the area, but more because the neighborhood had maintained, and even increased it’s appearance and value.

But it seems that some in the area decided that the CCR’s need to be revived and enforced and have taken it upon themselves to make it happen. But here’s the rub…they were trying to do it all in stealth mode. They tried to exclude the vast majority of homeowners from any kind of decision process. They obviously went to the Karl Rove School of Dirty Politics and Stealth Control.

This seems to have started when a couple of neighbors, who obviously couldn’t satisfy their controlling natures with their own families, couldn’t solve a beef or two through so-called official channels. So first, they went around to the places they felt to be trouble spots. They took pictures. Then they went to select neighbors of those homes and invited them to a meeting. Although they claim to have picked people at random to invite, they couldn’t have been too random if they only selected people near their target zones. This was clearly a group picked for maximum sympathy with their cause. Or at least they hoped. And they were mostly right. From that first, small, hand picked meeting, they decided to have a second meeting at which it seems they were going to elect officers and resurrect the CCR’s. Unfortunately for them, there was a secret dissenter in their midst. And this man told the entire community about this secret attempt to wrestle each homeowner’s freedom right out of their hands.

About 200 homeowners attended the second, not meant to be publicized meeting and really gave these guys hell. They were certainly surprised by the size of the crowd and were not prepared at all. They had only a dozen printed agendas, an indication that they thought they were in the clear and could proceed as planned. They had reserved the community room under the name of Sea Mesa Home Owners Association Election Committee. They were planning to take over.

But then we all showed up. And they had to pedal pretty fast. They made their case about property values, and trouble spots, but each point they made, at least five people could point to its fallacy. There were original owners who had only praise for the way the area has improved. There were newer owners who said they moved here because of the diversity and lack of an active HOA. Eventually, these guys said they just wanted to see if there was any interest and were trying to find out how to go about that. Want to know if there’s interest? Fine. At least ten times, the assembled audience suggested we take a vote. And every time these guys said there was nothing to vote on. Finally someone just asked who had no interest in reviving the CCR’s and over 90% raised their hands. Yet still these guys decided to press on.

They were roundly defeated by the will of the community, but were too stubborn to accept the facts. They seem determined to be the enforcers of standards that they will decide should exist. But they will fail because the rest of us won’t let it happen.

This event, this miniature play of democracy, was like looking into a microcosm of our current government and administration. Both had a small cabal of people who wanted to control the actions of the larger group. Both cabals seemed indifferent to the majority will of the group. Both cabals used deceit, subterfuge, and slippery language to achieve their goal. But that is where the comparison stops. Because unlike the bigger picture that is America, my neighborhood has the balls to stop petty wannabe’s before they get a chance to become tyrants. We’re tired of giving an inch and losing a mile.

I am hoping that this real life example of average people coming together to stop needless authoritarianism is spreading. I hope that people all over this country are finally opening their eyes and seeing what their hearts and minds have told them is wrong. And I hope that we can collectively find the balls to put an end to the destruction of America, her people, laws, and freedom. Because if there is any silver lining to the disaster that is George Bush, it will be that Americans will once again wake up, take charge, and put America back on a good and moral path.

(cross posted at Bring It On!)