At this point, many have already read Elena Lappin’s stomach-turning tale of being detained and deported for a criminal act of journalism. It seems that the Department of Homeland Security now considers British journalists dangerous. So, to recap: we are detaining journalists, professors, and clergy. War on terror, my ass! *We have declared a war on thinking.*
Why can’t we just go back to the way we were before, except with the addition of hardened cockpit doors. That was an appropriate response. I wrote once before about this: America needs to walk it off. Nothing would show our friends and enemies the strength of the United States better than saying “Damn, that stung; now we’re going to move on.” Or, get this, how about offering scholarships to students from Arab nations? That’s right, invite them in and treat them as guests. Can you imagine how sneaky that would be? Rather than attacking the hardened terrorist — clearly a wily character — we would attack the Arab world’s weakest point, young and impressionable students. We would show them the best America has to offer, and send them back as emissaries, and yes, as spies. Because they would return as friends of America; or if not that, friends of freedom and liberty.
Give visas to journalists (you know, like free democracies do). Heck, give visas to everybody. *What the hell are we doing turning back students from Morocco, Malaysia, and Egypt?* Are we that willing to give up freedom and liberty for all?!
*I want my country back.*
Now, I know what I would do, if I were able. When I came into the US, I would identify myself as an amateur journalist, as a blogger. Unfortunately, immigration largely leaves me alone.
Actually, as an aside, let me make clear that isn’t exactly the case. I live right on the Canadian border, and despite the fact that we give Canadians no special reason to love us, I am always made to feel welcome by Canadian immigration, and made to feel intimidated by US border guards. Why does being a prof make me a suspect? Someone has recently told me that I appear as though I could be Arab — and my name screams not-frum-round-here — but what’s with the hassle? It’s not like I’m accidently importing hand grenades.
OK, so it doesn’t seem fair to ask foreigners to foot the bill for this small act of civil disobedience. Let me see, how about a hypothetical way to raise consciousness about this? How about stickers that say something along the lines of what you see above? Heck you could even make them available at Café Press, or provide a pdf for folks to print.
Hypothetically, again, what if these were posted at national frontiers? Concerned folks could make sure fliers or postcards were left where travelers would find them. Or they could post stickers in helpful locations. I can’t imagine anyone could complain about informing our potential enemies about the newly enforced laws.
Of course, I recommend that we just stop thinking about it. Thinking about the end of liberties in the US is just too depressing, and is fundamentally anti-American. I’m ashamed the thought even crossed my mind.