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Mar-30-2010 01:41TweetFollow @OregonNews
American JokeDaniel Johnson Salem-News.com
The U.S. Canada border used to be the longest undefended border in the world.
(CALGARY, Alberta) - A man dies and goes to heaven, where he is being shown around by Saint Peter. As they are strolling, he notices a high wall with a faint murmur of voice coming from the other side.
What’s that? he asks.
Shhh, not so loud, says Saint Peter. Catholics over there. They think they’re the only ones up here.
Meanwhile, on the earth America is continuing to fortify itself against the outside world. Until 9/11, the 49th parallel was proudly referred to, by both Canadians and Americans, as the longest undefended border in the world.
The last trip I made to the U.S. was by car in the spring of 2001. It was after midnight when we crossed the border into Montana from Calgary. I was a bit amazed that when we got to the border booth, we weren’t even stopped. The attendant just waved us through as we slowed down. I was relieved that he didn’t stop us. If he had looked in the trunk he would have found a half dozen Canadians who wanted to go to the U.S.
While I haven’t crossed the border since, I know it’s not like that anymore. U.S. customs has no-fly, no-drive, and no-walk lists. Canadians can still get into the U.S., but it’s no longer a guaranteed thing.
Meanwhile on the southern border with Mexico there are fences, armed patrols and no-looking-across-the-border-from-Mexico lists. You could be shot on sight.
I envision increasing fortification in the years ahead where Fortress America will be a reality. The country will be virtually sealed off from the rest of the world, as it already is psychologically.
Which segues into my story. One of the giant cruise ships leaves its berth in Canada’s Maritimes, heading south in the Atlantic. It turns out that the only places they can stop are countries like Bermuda and the Bahamas.
At dinner one night, one of the passengers asks the captain what there is to the west and why they can’t land there.
The captain replies: Americans over there. They think they’re the only ones on the planet.
Daniel Johnson was born near the midpoint of the twentieth century in Calgary, Alberta. In his teens he knew he was going to be a writer, which is why he was one of only a handful of boys in his high school typing class — a skill he knew was going to be necessary. He defines himself as a social reformer, not a left winger, the latter being an ideological label which, he says, is why he is not an ideologue. From 1975 to 1981 he was reporter, photographer, then editor of the weekly Airdrie Echo. For more than ten years after that he worked with Peter C. Newman, Canada’s top business writer (notably on a series of books, The Canadian Establishment). Through this period Daniel also did some national radio and TV broadcasting. He gave up journalism in the early 1980s because he had no interest in being a hack writer for the mainstream media and became a software developer and programmer. He retired from computers last year and is now back to doing what he loves — writing and trying to make the world a better place
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