A while back, I lived in the Phoenix Valley, the place where citrus trees are as common as cacti. The interesting thing is that in some places in Phoenix, you can't grow citrus trees. And so you might think the problem would be lack of water, or mineral deficiency, or even environmental waste. Nope. The problem stems from three little letters: HOA.
HOAs are found in the Phoenix Valley, San Diego, Denver, and really anywhere there are developers. The easiest way to know if your area has been infected by HOAs is to keep an eye out for big chunks of land, often gated off, with all the same style and color of houses.
So you ask yourself, what could HOA stand for? Hell Operating in Arizona? Holy Overreacting bAtman? Or maybe Humans Orchestrating Atrocities?
The truth is much more mundane and sinister. It stands for "Home Owners' Association." For a minor fee ($15 per month on UP), the block Gestapo will make sure that your neighbor (or your neighbor's neighbor--you) cuts the grass on time, pulls the weeds, doesn't grow the wrong type of plants (like citrus trees), doesn't paint the house the wrong color, doesn't fly a flag that is too big, doesn't fly our nation's flag…
"Wait a minute," you say! "An HOA would tell me whether I could fly our nation's flag?" Some already have. When I lived in Arizona, some HOAs prohibited all flags. The state of Arizona passed a law allowing all people to fly Old Glory. How progressive of Arizona, actually allowing their citizens to fly our nation's flag. After all, we could hardly expect that flying our nation's flag would be any type of inalienable right.
All together now, let's sing with Lee Greenwood: I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free… Except in HOAs. Lest anyone think for a moment that I fail to see both sides of the picture, let me elaborate the top reasons that you should live in an HOA:
1. Family Harmony. Think of the following scenario occurring weekly in an HOA:
Wife: The lawn looks like a jungle. It's been three weeks since you mowed!
Husband: Yeah, yeah. The big game's on today. It'll wait.
Wife: (looking dreamily at her husband) Ever since we were fined $50 dollars by our HOA for not mowing our lawn, our lawn looks great.
Husband: Yes, and I love you and the children all the more for it.
2. Easier Choices. Whereas before, families struggled with endless possibilities of house color, with most HOAs, they only need to pick from two different shades of the same color. While before, they had thousands of plant possibilities with which to landscape their yard, now they can choose from about fifteen.
Think of the greater productivity in the work place as men and women never again spend their employer's time anguishing over just the right color to paint the house or which kind of tree to plant in the back yard. Our economy would soar. (see #4 below)
3. More Neighborly Neighborhoods. In pre-historic neighborhoods, it was possible that you might not know your neighbors. But in a progressive HOA neighborhood, that is almost impossible. Think of the following daily situation:
Man walks into house.
Woman: Excuse me. Who are you?
Man: Oh, I'm sorry. All the houses look so much alike; I guess this isn't my house.
Woman: That's okay, it happens all the time. Would you like to stay for dinner?
Woman: Great. This is Billie and Susie. I'd introduce you to my husband but he accidentally walked into the house two doors down and they invited him to stay for dinner.
4. Boosting the economy. The economy will soar as people no longer grow gardens or fruit trees. The following happens in Arizona frequently:
Mommy: Billy, let's go down to the store and buy some oranges.
Little Billy: Mommy, why don't we just grow oranges in our backyard?
Mommy: Silly Billy. Then we wouldn't be spending money to pump the economy. Besides, you can't grow citrus here in Arizona! There are HOA rules we must live by!
Little Billy (smiling): The DOW Jones Industrial Average has been way up since we moved to this HOA, hasn't it Mommy?
Mommy: Yes, Billy; it has.
5. Furthering of the HOA Principle. Probably the greatest advantage of supporting HOAs is that it introduces a principle that we can only hope will spread. What about Car Owners' Associations, Horse Owners' Associations (which couldn't be the real name because "HOA" is already in use), or Boat Owners' Associations?
With deep longing, we imagine a day when all will wear the same color of clothes and cut our hair the same length. We revel in the thought of our children having the same names and eating the same food. Oh, for such enlightenment! Oh, for such advancement!
But, hey, all aren't such progressive thinkers. Some still grovel in wanting to choose for themselves. Some still would choose their own colors, plants, and would even want to fly their nation's flag. To them, we can only beckon, calling from a higher plane: Rise up! Rise up, to enlightenment and truth.
And silently, we can hope for the ultimate in the HOA principle, a principle which was so eloquently described by Karl Marx. We could term it a CA or "Citizens' Association" which could tell us how to think and what to say and do. What a beautiful principle. We could all pray for it… as long as the CA approves of prayer.