Community: (n) a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
Our little village was filled with community pride.
It was cute–a little bigger than a postage stamp, yet you could walk around the entire downtown area in less than ten minutes.
Growing up there, I was taught that community is not so much sharing a location, but rather, absorbing a basic ideology.
I’m not sure who came up with the standards or the principles which were passed down among the locals and inhaled like air, but generally speaking, you could do well in my community if you understood the mindset and the dress code.
If for some reason, you wanted to vary from the common universal brain, or clothe yourself in such a way as to gain too much attention, then you were initially viewed as comical.
If you persisted, you went from comical to being deemed confused.
And if confusion was maintained, then you would be considered dangerous and need to be dealt with by the negative approaches established by our community.
It was a very successful system.
We were able, through this system, to keep all blacks, Hispanics, gays, lesbians and long-haired rock and rollers far from our borders–without ever firing a shot.
The teeny tiny handful of those who remained were simply ostracized–or maybe just received really poor mail service.
None of the people in our community considered themselves prejudiced–just enamored by a preference. After all, if you wanted varying behaviors, you could drive twenty miles down the road to the Big City, where there were all sorts of options available, complete with rape, murder and a variety of other crimes. We were thoroughly frightened of the outside world, without ever being officially indoctrinated into a cult.
But our community was a cult.
I found this out when I wanted to stray from the daily routine and pursue my own ideas. No one struck me, no one physically attacked me, and no one even openly rebuked me. They just left me out of everything.
The system works to this day. All across America little towns have a network of gossipers who warn of suspicious arrivals, allowing the community a chance to provide the inconsideration to drive good folks away.