Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Welcome to Police State

I used to have a joke sweatshirt that resembled a college logo shirt, with "Police State" as the name of the college. It finally bit the dust and ended up in the rag bin, but I wish I had it now.

Especially when I read stories like this one, wherein an American citizen is detained and hassled by Homeland Security at JFK airport following a trip to Syria.

Every time I plan to go on a trip, I half expect to show up on some "no fly" list and be told I can't go. But until now I didn't give much thought to being hassled on my way back into the country. The closest I came was when we came back from Australia four years ago and I was singled out to step out of line and raise my shirt while I got the wand. After four weeks of eating meat pies and vegemite sandwiches, and guzzling Victoria Bitter... well, let's just say that I heard a tiny voice say, "Look, mommy, that man's smuggling lard!"

I'm going on a return trip to Vietnam next month, on a real vacation this time (unlike 40 years ago), so let's hope that when I come back home, the resident Nazis of Seattle's Homeland Security will give me a pass. I'm afraid that after 32+ straight hours of traveling, I won't be in much of a mood to put up with any bullshit from a low-level federal goon squad.

Which just might cause me to complete vanish. "Disappeared", as Joseph Heller had it in Catch-22.

Especially if I'm wearing my new "Police State" college sweatshirt -- in no time at all I'd be trading it in for a nifty bright orange "Gitmo Tech" jumpsuit.