Saturday, February 02, 2008

Passport to Insult

A new day has dawned on our northern border. For the first time in our peaceful history, Canadians and returning Americans now need a passport to enter the United States. Supposedly, this will bring increased security for all Americans. I guess Washington thinks Ottawa is so unsophisticated that they just let in every Ali, Mustafa, and Omar that wants in. Thankfully Bush and Chertoff are keeping us safe! No more Canadian terrorists will be able to gain entry into this sacred land, at least, not without a passport. What a sham. What a disgrace. What an insult. Canada is America's best friend and has been for nearly 200 years. Our economies are inseparably intertwined. Our cultures are all but indistinguishable. We are they and, for the most part, they are we.

So why is it that the geniuses in Washington feel the need to continue shutting us off from the rest of the world? As we put up walls along our southern border and bureaucrats along our northern one, our counterparts in Europe are erasing their international borders. How are they doing this without provoking a single terrorist act? Beyond the fact that the terrorist threat is blown way out of proportion in this "home of the brave;" the Europeans are creating a continental standard for travel and immigration applicable across the entire European Union. Imagine that, nations working together to secure each others' citizens. Apparently, that's just not the American way.

Most of the northern border is already porous. Why would these crazy terrorists, whoever they are, choose to enter the US through a secure border crossing when they can just walk across a farm field in Maine or North Dakota? It seems logical to me that, instead of damaging northern border economies and fraying international relations, we should be pursuing greater ties with our friends to the north. Why not work together with the Canadian government to create one standard for travel and immigration to and from North America? Then we can open our borders from coast to coast. No more tolls, no more border guards, and no more need for passports. It may sound like it, but this is not some fantasy land with gingerbread houses and rivers of chocolate. This is Planet Earth 2008 and America is falling further and further behind the rest of the world.

The reality of our global economy is that we in Rochester are as tied to Toronto as we are to New York City. By adding another roadblock between us and Toronto, we hamper a significant part of our regional identity. The good ol' boys from Texas who make these rules may not understand it, but we sure do. It's bad enough that we make good people from many foreign nations that do not share borders with us jump through hoops to be allowed entry into this great country. But it's downright insulting that we would do this to our friends in Canada. I hope that Ottawa returns the favor and makes it harder for us to enter their land. Besides, don't they have as much to fear from us and we do from them?