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Or stay home? Or emigrate to a Central or South American garden spot?

There’s always Canada? Or is there? I’ve written this before but it bears repeating, Canada is not a Blue State‘ers utopia. Our federal government is Bush-lite minus the enhanced interrogation and the whole nationalized health care thing is a bit of a bait and switch in practice as opposed to the nirvana theory it puts forth.

So who is a “domestic extremist” anyway?

According to an internal memo making the rounds at Homeland Security and the TSA, I would resemble that designation for my written opposition of the new enhanced screenings being administered at airports. Going on record (cyberspace is the ultimate in documentation) and writing in support of Opt Out Day could have earned me a spot on some super double secret list of people my homeland government sees as a threat.

A threat to what?

Good question. Not so easy to answer and still maintain the facade that the United States isn’t as dictatorial as the Jihadi’s they are waging war against in the Middle East (and sucking up to as well though the contempt revealed in the recent Wikileaks makes one wonder if the American government has any idea of what it stands for or whose side it is on).

During our routine lunch time chat today, Rob wondered if I might have made this new list and if it could cause us issues when we travel to the Midwest to see family next year.

“You could get denied entry,” he said.

It’s not something I haven’t thought about actually. Crossing the border gives me the willys, as my dear readers well know.

Border guards are like the old feudal lords with absolute power and discretion within the confines of their tiny perches on the invisible line that separates sacred American dirt from socialist tinged Canada soil. They can detain a person with impunity as easily as they can wave one through. They can decide someone is unfit to enter – citizen or not – without explanation. Democracy? Constitutional Rights? A Border guard needs these things not.

Administering border authority is a bit like the old wild west when the local sheriff or U.S. Marshall was more powerful than the wealthiest merchants or ranchers.

Of course, working for the TSA has its own creative rules making perks too.

What’s a person to do?

Simon Black recommends ex-patriating. He uses as his example the Roman Empire and how those with gumption and means simply moved on once it was clear that dictatorship and tyranny had replaced the rule of law. But, as I mentioned earlier, Utopia is the name of a fictional place in a book by Thomas Moore (which interestingly is a satire, surprising given its creative source).  Although the U.S. is clearly heading toward a more restrictive form of governing than the Founders could ever in their worst case scenarios have imagined when they argued over the wisdom of allowing ordinary citizens the vote, Americans themselves still think they are mostly the most free people on Earth.

Search me. I have nothing to hide.  Let them search you – unless you have something to hide.   I could never be a victim of too much safety.

But American jurisprudence and government just about patented the idea of the slippery slope. Forget that at your peril.

It’s interesting that such a topic would come up on the same day I was reading about the new Canadian citizenship test and calculating whether or not I’ve put in my seat time to apply.  I have a few months to go, but it’s not out of the reach for the coming year.

And there is the small point of my being “home” already as home is a state of personal preference and the physical reality that one creates when all is said and done.

If I were turned away though? I suppose there’d be a few tears and then I’d suck it up and get over it. I’ve “gotten over” actual tragedies after all, so a pseudo one couldn’t be all that hard. Though my guess is that most Americans would feel like the Benedict Arnold inspired character in A Man Without a Country, who is condemned to a wandering exile aboard U.S. Naval ships, never to be allowed to re-settle elsewhere and never stepping foot on American soil, would it really be any different from the tales of those who migrated to the U.S., never to see their homeland again?

Home is where your heart is and one’s heart belongs to people – not imaginary lines on a globe.  If you had to choose between your country or your loved ones, would there really be a choice?

It’s just dirt and only toddlers find it tasty. What’s important really are the binding ties, and I don’t think that America has thought about that for a long, long time unless, of course, the subject was cutting them. But it might be something for its people to consider.

Seriously rethinking any future flights into the United States in the foreseeable future these days. The Speedo Bomber’s thwarted attempt to deliver a Christmas present to the American people in the form of mangled bodies and jetliner debris has caused the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority to go above and beyond American expectations of reactionary backlash.

The latest word is that no one flying into the U.S. from Canada will be permitted carry-on luggage. There will be pat-downs at the security check-in as well as manual searches of briefcases, purses and diaper-bags, which will still be allowed, and these items will be searched again when passengers are molested again at the departure gate.

Because check-in’s were taking so long (7 hours on Boxing Day in Toronto for example), the RCMP was called in to provide assistance. That’s correct. They called in the Mounties, who have a troubling history of tasing people without cause.

It is no surprise to my dear readers that I hate to fly into the U.S. and that border crossing by air or land put me in a Fox Mulder frame of mind. I see grassy knolls. But the prospect of standing meekly (because they will be watching for anything un-sheeplike) in line for hours just to be treated like a criminal and then packed into an uncomfortable seat where it is very likely that all forms of distraction for me and, more importantly, for child will be forbidden just makes me wonder, what is so great about the U.S. that I couldn’t live without visiting for the next – say – five years.

Okay, family. But they can come here. Nothing prevents them but lack of passport and it’s still possible down there to easily obtain passports. But otherwise?

Empty laps. How does one manage an empty lap for several hours in such cramped quarters? I’ve read reports that babies and books were prohibited from obscuring perfect lap view. No books? Keeping America safe from what? Knowledge?

According to the current administration, it will be up to the pilot to determine what is or isn’t okay. So if the pilot is having a bad hair day or is just a prick normally, welcome to hell in the air? It’s already not that great. And what qualifies the pilot to make such decisions?

I should be more concerned about safety, you say? I am a bit jaded on the safety thing. Speedo Bomber shouldn’t have even made it on the first plane out of Nigeria let alone the second one out of Amsterdam. If I were inclined to get all conspiracy theory I’d say that the U.S. government let the guy through hoping he would lead them to a terrorist cell somewhere. His being in Detroit with a bomb in his undies wasn’t something they considered. They risked peoples’ lives on purpose. But that’s my cynical side talking.

Ben Franklin is often quoted in situations like these because he once said something about people who willingly trade freedom for safety deserve neither. The Founder Fathers, not exactly the greatest group of guys ever, would simply not understand the wimpy people who inhabit the free nation that they risked everything to create. We are like aristocrats bred out to a point that we are barely able to think or do for ourselves anymore.

Next up will be full body scanners. Rob tells me that the radiation they emit can disrupt DNA. Are you going to walk through it when the time comes? It is coming. Or will you opt for the wand, the rough handling and possibly missing your flight for being a troublemaker?

I think we should all just pick a day and designate it for flying naked. Or plane loads of people should refuse to put away iPods. What would happen to the draconian assault on passengers if Air Marshals were suddenly having to arrest every passenger on dozens of flights for refusing to give up blankets and pillows? The blanket thing is funny in light of recent stories about flight attendants coming unglued by breast-feeding mothers. That will be even more interesting in the future. And more ridiculous.

A high school friend on Facebook thinks there should be profiling, and he thinks I am too much of a liberal to agree with him. I don’t see anything wrong with targeting demographics for extra scrutiny except for one thing. It wouldn’t stay in airports. It wouldn’t be implemented in a thoughtful or courteous manner. And eventually, it would be turned back on the average person and we’d be right back where we are now.

Unless it’s the most dire of emergencies, we are done flying into the U.S. Land crossings have the potential to be painful, but at least I won’t be trapped in an airport without clothing, toiletries or a means of stepping outside to scream in an attempt to find my zen place.