Monday, December 02, 2013

The Day our Disney Dream died...

When I was a lad, one of my favourite holidays was the road trip to Florida and the peak of that event was a day at Walt Disney World in Orlando. It is one of my fondest memories.
As a young fellow growing up in Canada, it was always a treat to travel into the 'States' and do something different, see a palm tree, swim in a warm sea, and visit some interesting attractions... but Disney World was my favourite.
My own mother lived there for years. I spent two year in high school there.
Years passed, and as I grew into a man my reasons for travelling into the US changed.
I went was to visit folks, take business trips, do some training, and very occasionally for a holiday.
Most of my vacation time was taken up by travels into Mexico and South America for academic reasons. I would combine my holidays with my field work while on extended leave.
So, while growing up, my oldest (now adult) son never took that seminal road trip as I had done with my own dad. I regret that now. I had always banked on more time to do it. I never thought the road itself would change.
Since the birth of our newest son, a toddler now, I had been entertaining the idea of saving up for the expensive ordeal of a road trip down to Florida as he got just a little older. In fact, we had already begun to save and plan. My adult son, was enthusiastic about the entire affair and wanted to come along.
But, I fear those plans have been stalled if not shelved.
Not by money (always a concern); not by illness, nor by a lack of interest or will.
Instead, we have begun to think it may not be in our best interests to travel into and through the US during the current political climate.

My own work of many years gives me some alarming insight into the political trends of our neighbour - one of my favourite nations, period. It saddens me to write this, but I just do not think it is desirable to be there. Not right now.
I have never, in all my life, seen the US so polarized. So full of factionalism - and yet, so little difference between the political parties. A rising tide of socialism and globalism seems to have gripped the halls of power.
I could never have imagined, say in the 10 or 15 years past, that I would see the security state I see rising in place of the 'land of Liberty'; a place I was so in love with as a boy and so enjoyed visiting as a young man.
The change that began in 2001 was profound, and I was all for some of the initial measures.... I never dreamt they would be taken so far. I could never have imagined the escalation under Mr Obama's administration.
The checkpoints. The cameras. The restrictions.The scanners. The treatment of LEGAL allied citizens and NATIVE citizens.
I could not have envisioned the 'new agencies' that have so much power over the everyday life of anyone within American borders.
All added up, and I think we will have to seriously consider spending our money somewhere were people like us are welcomed.

Today I am yet again beside myself. Today it has become public knowledge that our allies in Australia have been providing personal (and sometimes classified) details about our private citizens to the US NSA. Today I have read about a wheel chair bound Canadian woman being denied entry into the US (for a holiday) because the 'Department of Homeland Security' somehow discovered she had suffered from some sort of emotional breakdown or panic attack and had been treated for it. These records, in Canada, are PRIVATE. They require a WARRANT to access, and one may only be issued if a serious crime has been committed. None was. No warrant was granted. This information was used to deny a harmless, handicapped Canadian citizen entry.
So how did they get them? They wont say.
Our own officials claim ignorance. While I am not inclined to trust politicians, I tend to think they are telling the truth this time. Why? Any party that did so would be committing political suicide - and for what? To stop a depressed woman from getting some winter sun? Fingers are beginning to point at our allies in the 'Five Eyes'. Was it the British? The Australians? Unlikely the Kiwis, as they have similar privacy laws to us.
Could it be infiltration?
Paranoia has gripped our academic and intelligence community. Wires are being pulled. Agreements reviewed.
'With friends like this' becomes the new line.

Who ever it was, we have been collectively betrayed. The evidence is given to us by some power tripping border guard (thanks!). And it's not just us who have been betrayed. It is also the American taxpayer. They are funding this nonsense in the name of security. If the powers that be will pay to discover this about someone entering the country, how long before they justify doing the same for those leaving? For those within?

So where does that leave Mickey, Mini, the Pirates, and my Citrus Tree Swirl?
In limbo.
If we do go, it will be by plane. That will be great, I am sure, as far as the security state is concerned. But, when we - and thousands like us - start doing that, it is for a lot less time; and our money is being spent in one small approved sector.
The highway stops, small towns, attractions, and  destinations along the way (like the Atlanta Aquarium and Williamsburg, for just two examples) lose our business.
As I noted above, I am far from alone in these sentiments.
In fact, I am one of the few people who could still pull it off with relative ease. I am connected to the apparatus by means of military and security ties. I get waved through, most of the time. I have a special ID.
But that is a double edged sword. It means I have also seen and heard of the directives. I know what these security people are told about us, as Canadians. How I am an 'exception' due to my connections. Forgive the term, it is the only truly applicable one I can think of at present, but I do not want to be anyone's 'house nigger'.
I am a free citizen of a sovereign nation - an ALLIED nation.
I pose no danger to the current regime. I am not a fomenter of dissent or civil war/strife. I would, indeed, keep my head down and go for a holiday. But would I enjoy it, like I once did? I am not so sure.
These thoughts all passed through my head last year as I drove -escorted-  through the ruins of what was once Detroit. Again, more recently when standing in line outside a local super store to pick up a much vaunted gaming console for our family room.
In the wee hours of the morning, while standing and chatting and sipping coffee with the folks in a cold line it became apparent that none of them had any intention of travelling into the USA.
I did not bring the topic up. I listened to them. People originally from border towns in Niagara, and from the city of Windsor (one a naturalized Canadian of American origin) ranted on and on about their treatment while crossing and well within the States. One even compared their travels to those in Cuba.
They lamented for their American friends and family. It was not a USA bashing session. It was more like a wake, or grieving for what once was. These folks missed the good old days. They missed the old America, and missed her sincerely.

All that said, I have not lost all hope. The American people are a proud, stubborn bunch. They will and are resisting these changes. New political movements have come into being that are designed to counter this apparatus and the apparatchiks who run it. They are gaining more and more steam by the day.
I suspect that sooner or later this madness has to give.
Someone who actually prefers their own people and nation, and those of their allies, to the whims of international policy makers (ie globalists who crave security states and view people as 'assets' and 'resources') will fill the power vacuum created by hacks.
Sooner or later, something has to give. The old Republic that was so fond to me will come back, or a new one(s) will be formed in it's stead. I sincerely hope it is the former and not the latter, but whatever it takes - I pray it happens soon and in a peaceful manner, for the sake of the people and nation next door that I hold so dear.

What it comes down to is this: I do not want my little boy, my wife, and my adult son and his gal to be subjected to this over zealous, misdirected security machine. We can, if necessary, make our memories and take our money elsewhere. I am not even so sure I want to fly into (or over) that machine with them. 
It's just not worth the mouse ears.

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