Police state USA II

September 8, 2008 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

Following yesterday’s post of pre-emptive raids on protesters, comes another story that just serves to remind me why I refuse to step foot on US soil (before my favourite 18-year old gamer emails me yet again. I’ve been there, done that – visited the US in the 1990s before the country went berserk with biometrics).

My RSS feeds deliver to me lots of stuff about the environment and one of my favourites is Natural News. This site is more about natural living and natural health than it is about observations on the police state the US has become. But the other day in came this story.

One Natural News staffer spent a month in Ecuador and found himself trapped in a Salvidor Dali painting on his return to the US. It began with what he refers to as “the immigration chamber” at Miami airport. In blistering heat, he and about a thousand other hapless American victims citizens waited for 1.5 hours in line to have their passports stamped for re-entry. (Personally, I would have turned around and gone back to Ecuador!).

There was no water available for thirsty people. After about half an hour, the crowd was growing restless but were told to shut up with the underlying threat being you’ll be hauled off if you don’t obey. As the Natural News staffers says: “Welcome to Police State USA. This is how the United States treats its own citizens returning from abroad. Imagine how it treats non-citizens!”. (Yes, well I won’t be finding out as I will never step foot in the country again!).

He compared this saga to the immigration line in Ecuador –  people queuing up in a polite, zigzag fashion, which means you don’t have to be a mind reader and pick the shortest queue. In the US (so I’m told) you have to play mind reader and pray to God you have picked the queue with a dude who is a whiz at processing passports and that 40 people don’t step over you as they rush to join the same line. And in Ecuador it took six minutes to breeze through passport control.

What then really piqued my interest was the comments on food. During my sojourn in Europe, I was amazed at the freshness of the food in Portugal. My mother was busy complaining when she came to live with us in 2005 that you couldn’t get fresh food these days, that you had to buy it from a supermarket, wrapped in plastic and tasting like plastic. In Portugal, there are still “corner stores” where you can buy fresh vegetables with the dirt still clinging to them. So coming back from Ecuador, where he’d spent 30 days living on fresh produce out of a vege patch, another observation was that in the US you go indoors to get your food. This is a no-brainer: we buy food from supermarkets mainly but when you hear it like this “we buy our food indoors”, that really makes you wonder how warped our society has become.  I bought a punnet of strawberries the other day for an exorbitant cost and the very next day, there was furry mould on them. The food we are forced to buy in Australia by the growing monopoly of two supermarkets is not fresh IMHO. It’s wrapped in plastic to within an inch of its life and reeking of pesticides, herbicides, colourings, flavourings and so on. For AU$65.00, we bought a huge amount of groceries in Portugal – three wines, 2 huge cheese wheels and lots of other items. When we returned to Australia, we spent $180.00 on far less food stuff.

And then the writer makes an observation about Florida – that it’s artificial and dead. Never been there so can’t comment. But this recalled to my mind the time I stayed in an eco-camp in South Africa. Individual huts far away from one another. High up on stilts overhanging the river. We went to bed; turned the lights off and…..I bolted upright. I’d never heard such noise – frogs, hippos, hyenas, lion roars. And the sky – stuffed full of glittering stars.

In our cities, the noise is of machines, mobile phones, people. And the brilliant night sky is diluted by streetlights. We live indoors watching TV and DVDs. If we go outdoors, we spend mindlessly on credit cards as though we are numbing some deep rooted angst we can’t articulate.

The article made another interesting observation: “Coming back to America made it immediately obvious to me how fake and fragile the whole system really was. Ecuador may be a lot less wealthy, but it’s based on reality, not a fabricated delusion of wealth”. And the final sledge-hammer of a comment:

“..it became immediately clear to me upon returning to the United States that the American people have little connection with reality. They live in their fake particle-board-and-drywall homes, they spend money they don’t have, they eat fake food made in a factory somewhere, they take fake chemical medicines; their lawns are fake, their neighborhoods are fake, their parks are fake and even their boobs are fake.”

Could not have written it better. And simply replace “the American people” with “the Australian people” – I think we are just as disconnected from reality frankly.

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Entry filed under: Airport security, Society, United States. Tags: , .

Police state USA Go Ecuador!

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