Thursday, April 7, 2005

I Feel Safer Already

I've just finished reading Your passport, please: U.S. announces new regulations for Canadians, and even though nothing has changed -- yet -- I feel a lot safer. Don't you?

I loved the bit explaining how
new American rules are to be phased in over the next couple of years, putting an end to the longstanding Canadian practice of flashing a driver's licence or birth certificate at immigration officials.
I like the way this phasing-in process works, because ... well, let's see:
By the end of this year, Canadians will need a passport (base price $87) or other "secure document" to travel by air or sea to destinations in the Caribbean, Bermuda, Central or South America if the trip includes a U.S. stopover.
I may be freezing here but I get a nice warm fuzzy feeling every time I consider that starting next year, well-heeled Canadian sun-seekers won't be able to enjoy the Caribbean without a passport.

Does that make you feel safer, too? I still don't understand why but apparently it has something to do with security. And just talking about security makes me feel secure. And that makes me feel a lot safer. I don't know how it works but now that I have written about it I do feel a good deal safer. Don't you feel the same way just for having read the word 'security' over and over like that? Good puppy.

I don't understand why it makes me feel safer but whatever it is, it's working. And I'll tell you something else that makes me feel safer:
By the end of next year, the requirement will apply to all air and sea travel from Canada to the United States[...]
Beautiful. Now the people who fly back and forth between Winnipeg and Miami will have to go through the same hassle as the people who just stop at Miami on their way to Kingston or someplace and I can't put my finger on it, but boy! does it make me feel safe! to say the word "safe"!!

And here's a third thing that makes me feel extremely safe and secure:
the requirement will apply [...] to all travellers, including those crossing the border on land, by the end of 2007.
That's perfect. I'll decide why later. I know it will be a royal pain in the ass for many people but we'll burn that bridge when we cross it. For now it's perfect. Because it makes me feel safe. And doesn't it make you feel safer, too?

Why does this make me feel safer? Does less cross-border travel actually increase my security? I don't know. I'm just asking. Does less freedom of movement for ordinary people make me safer? I can't say that it does. So why do I feel so safe all of a sudden?
"It's going to be the casual visitor, the spontaneous visitor, the ordinary citizen who will be injured by this," former U.S. congressman John Lafalce said from Buffalo, N.Y., a short drive from the busy Peace Bridge border crossing at Fort Erie, Ont.
Well of course, John. Um, Mister Lafalce. May I call you John? That's the point, John, isn't it? Keep the casual visitors away, if possible. Otherwise make them pay. Make the ordinary people suffer. That's how it's happening. That's why it's perfect! Don't you feel safer already?

Maybe I feel safer because I read the part where it said:
the U.S. rules would require its citizens to carry a passport when they leave the country.
I think that must be it. Oh yeah. Oh yeah, sure! We'll be safer because it will be more of a hassle to leave the country. And some people won't be able to get passports or won't be able to afford them and therefore they will never leave and we'll be ... what's that? ... well I'd say that just about eliminates any possible danger. Don't you think so?

How could we ever be safer by keeping people in the country who might want to get out? What? Did you think I was being facetious? Well guess what? I do that once in a while.

I can't figure out how this makes me any safer but I can see how it might inconvenience a lot of people who don't mean us any harm at all, and meanwhile it's ... oh yeah did I ever happen to mention how difficult it is for a terrorist to get a fake passport? ... oh right, so that must be what makes me feel safe and secure then ... slap me -- I'm getting delirious! This is what happens when I feel so safe and secure. Because if a terrorist ever wanted to get into the United States through Canada, he or she would have to get a passport. And of course terrorists could never come up with the $87, could they? Of course it's scientifically proven that the possibility of a terrorist getting his hands on a fake passport is ... what's that? Oh never mind.

I feel really good about the way the new rules are being phased in, so that just a few people suffer at first, and then more, and then more; the thin edge of the wedge comes first, and once again we have an iron fist wearing a velvet glove. It's all so beautiful nobody could guess what's inside. Tyranny. Did I say that? I do that once in a while too.

What we have here is a fundamental alteration of the relationship between the United States and Canada, and not for the better. But nobody will make a big deal of it because it's part of the so-called "War on Terra" and that means the government can do whatever it wants wherever it wants and we're not supposed to ask questions or complain or anything. Just sit back and stay ignorant and feel safe. And eventually in a few years lots of people will have to have passports, and they'll be showing them at the border, and showing your passport at the border will become part of the natural order of things. We're slipping backwards, friends, but doesn't it just make you feel safe? Safe and sound and secure and slipping backwards ... We have "Free Trade" so that cheap plastic lawn furniture can move freely all over the world, but the people are being bound in, tighter and tighter, and doesn't it make you feel safe?

What's with the sarcasm tonight? Doesn't it make you feel better? Suppose there were no need for "Truth By Inversion". How would you feel then?

A paragraph near the end of the article says it best, I think:
The tighter measures are a consequence of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S. and the country's effort to screen out "people who want to come in to hurt us," said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
No hint of how this will help us if the people who want "to hurt us" are already "in". I wasn't supposed to mention that, was I? And what do I mean by "in"? "In" the country? "In" the corridors of power? "In" the office of the secre... slap me again! I'm certainly delirious now. Must be because of how safe I feel.