Hooray for the Government!
TSA Security Directive set to expire
You can't say you love your country and hate your government. – Bill Clinton
Is that so, Bill? Can't a Cambodian under Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime hate his government, but love Cambodia? Can’t a Chinese under Mao? A Russian under Stalin? A German under Hitler? A Canadian under Trudeau? (to make the point obvious)
Or is it just that Americans are not allowed to hate their government, we, the exceptional nation? Of course Clinton was referring to 'reactionary right-wing' Americans, but I've seen plenty of hatred toward the government among Democrats when the tables are turned and the GOP is in power.
In any case, I'm an equal-opportunity hater. I've seen bumper stickers in the valley here on both sides. Save the Republic and Vote Republican. Save America and vote Democrat. Whatever, we all know they're both killing the country. McCarthy-Schmarthy, the country is going down the toilet. Look at the spending bill. It's fire-sale, smash and grab time. We're in the era of the last huge looting spree before the proverbial poo hits the punkah.
Well, thank goodness for small signs of hope. Hear the news! Today is January 8th. At midnight tonight the TSA, Covid-era security directive which bans entry to unvaxxed travelers ends! Oh, the things I will do! Here's a few:
1. People ask me, what kind of work are you going to do here? Well, for one I was considering setting up a little study/adventure abroad program for Japanese kids, and maybe for American kids to go to Japan too. I have a friend who has been making a good living doing this for years. He works out of San Francisco and takes groups of kids back and forth across the Pacific. The kids sightsee and do local homestays. I thought, San Francisco is pretty standard fare for Japanese travelers, right there with LA and Hawaii. What about something really different- Montana! Rocky mountains. Fresh air. Beautiful lakes and rivers. Wide open country. Greasy-spoon, country diners. And, ehem, a demographic somewhat like what America looked like almost everywhere, not too many years ago (call me behind the times but I’m thinking of my clients, and the charmingly innocent Japanese [and Chinese] still have antiquated notions of what sort of ethnic groups populate various countries, themselves coming from benighted nations whose ethnic super-majorities match the name of the country, as in Japanese from Japan. They innocently expect to see English folk in London, Germans in Frankfurt, and Poles in Warsaw [well, in the case of Warsaw, word has it that you actually do see Poles.]) Anyway, now I can get this homestay hustle in high gear!
2. My son Andy has a good friend whom he told all about his adventures in Montana back during our first plandemic escape in 2020. He told Hisashi Tanaka about sleeping in a tent for three weeks near Flathead Lake in the cold, wet spring of that year; of swimming in lakes, fishing, and shooting; of seeing eagles, buffalo, elk and moose; of seeing a surprised, growling mama bear at 10ft away on a hike; of taking care of farm animals; of cleaning half a foot of accumulated goat poo in a stinky barn; of working under the mid-July sun, bathed in muck, cleaning ponds; of the October storm which brought a dump of snow and sub-zero temperatures; of eating the same spaghetti and grilled-cheese sandwiches his dad (me) made day after day. Spirited Hisashi said, “Oh, man. I wanna go! Take me with you next time!”
Andy wrote me an email back in October. He said, “Can I come out at Christmas and bring Hisashi? He's a really cool kid, kinda different than the other kids. He's the only one in my class, besides me, that didn't get the vaccination. He already asked his mom and she said it's OK.”
I was really jazzed by this. I wrote back and said, “Heck yeah! Bring him out! We'll show him a great time!”
I was thinking, I'm gonna make this a trip Hisashi will never forget. And it's going to be kind of a reward for him and his mom and dad, who bucked the trend and protected him from the clot shot. You guys made it to this point- now here's your prize! When I found out that the TSA restriction didn't lift until after Christmas vacation, it irked me a bit, but hey, air tics are cheaper now and we’re guaranteed winter weather in late January. We'll have all kinds of fun in the snow.
3. Sometimes I'm also asked, “Dan, why don't you bring your family over here? Well, I've had my twin boys over. All my kids have seen beautiful Montana, and they can come any time, as they hold US passports. But bringing my whole family is impossible because my wife is not a US citizen, and she's unjabbed, God bless her.
Except for a 1-hour grilling at airport immigration at DePortland way back when we were married, she's never had any trouble coming to the states. And we've had some great times, camping, skiing, sightseeing, taking the kids to the coast, etc. I remember once, during a long stay in Seattle, she invited her classmates from the English language school over for lunch at my dad's place in July. It was a charming scene, four Japanese girls out on the deck, lake Washington and Mt. Rainier in the background, and they were having the best time together, yakking and eating sushi and drinking green tea. The class took a day trip once to Hurricane Ridge out on the Olympic peninsula. I still have the nice mug with the relief elk on it that Yuka gave me from the gift shop. If you're Japanese, you never go for a trip and fail to bring back souvenirs, even if you are in Seattle just on a day trip and the present is for your unromantic, cheapo American husband. Anyway, now Yuka and I can enjoy America together again. Love and affection here I come!
So things are looking up! Remember everyone, when it seems the madness will never end and nothing is going our way, even the TSA can come to their senses and do the right thing. Now, to plan my family reunion!
Just kidding. The TSA just announced that the ban on pure-blood travelers has been extended until April 10th. Sorry unjabbed kids; sorry Hisashi; sorry Yuka.
Oh well, at least I know that these covid-era restrictions are never extended a second time.
Have a good Sunday!
Update: I hope this post didn’t come across as a woe-is-me lament. The extension of the Security Directive didn’t surprise me in the least. It didn’t sadden me much, or make me depressed, but it did make me angry, and that righteous (I think) anger prompted me to write the piece. And in any case, as my cheerful, hopeful friends with twice the faith I have say, “There’s always a way.”
And indeed there is! Two ways, to be precise. I forgot to mention that a commenter on a blog I follow did the homework and read through the fine print of the updated directive. With the right planning, an unjabbed foreigner can come to the States! On line 4 of paragraph 3 on page six of the directive, it clearly states that airplanes with a passenger capacity of under 35 are exempt from the rule! See, if G20 politicians on the way back from their their Balinese bath and happy-finish massages can skirt the rule, so can my dear Yuka! And there is always the Mexico option with the Dreamers coming from the south.
So all Yuka has to do is either charter a learjet or wear a shawl and change her last name to Covarrubias Marroquín and she’s in like Flynn.
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