Yesterday, a memory came back to me of a time in early 2001 when I was travelling in Ontario with my wife and one of my brothers. On the radio, we heard a story about efforts to create an open border between the United States and Canada. Now, we’re facing the requirement of passports to enter and return from Canada. It saddens me to think of how much the United States has cut itself off from the rest of the world, even Canada, because of the events of a single bad day. Instead of friendly neighbors, the United States now regards Canada as a potential source of evildoer infiltrators determined to destroy us all.
Trouble between the people of the United States and the people of Canada has been represented by the experience of Maher Arar, a Canadian who was seized by the US government at JFK airport in New York and sent to Syria to be tortured. It turns out that Maher Arar didn’t do a damned thing to deserve it. He is not even suspected of having committed any crime now. Now, of course, it’s too late to take back what the US government did to him. He was imprisoned and tortured without ever being charged with a crime, much less given the legal protections we used to take for granted in the USA. It has become the new American Way to dispense with freedom so that we can protect ourselves from Canadians.
I’m sick of it. I’m not going to live in this Homeland of Insecurity any more. I hereby emigrate from the Homeland back to the United States of America, where the Bill of Rights is still in effect.
I’m not going along with the herd that declares we have to be afraid of Canadians. I don’t want to shut Canadians out of our country. I want to talk with them. One way to find our way out of the darkness is to talk with our neighbors again, to try to understand the USA as it appears to them.
With that goal in mind, I have joined the Canadian group Progressive Bloggers. There, from within Canada’s cyberborders, I hope to explore the border between the peoples of our two nations. Here on the US side, at Irregular Times, I issue a parallel invitation to Canadians on the web. Come by and give us a Canadian perspective on what’s going on in the USA, and help us to understand what’s happening in Canada.
If our governments won’t open the border, then it’s up to us citizens to walk across it on our own.
Hm. That would be an interesting kind of activism, wouldn’t it? Is anyone up for a cross-border protest hike?