Think About The Way XIV

Think About The Way XIV

The fourteenth of a never-ending series

By Doctor Gonzo

25 September 2000

Minneapolis — Of course it creeps up on people without their knowledge of it. That is how it has been prescribed for decades now, since a few people saw that modern life has dulled the populace to the point where they don't really care about abstract ideals. All they need is their loud noises, shiny moving colours, and instant credit and they are relatively happy with their lives. They are corralled into their predetermined lives with as much perception as a cow heading towards the killing floor.

What is very odd about it is how closely this reality follows those realities that people have worried about for years. In the world of Winston Smith, the Ministry of Peace was responsible for waging war on Eastasia and Eurasia, while the Ministry of Love was responsible fro torturing errant citizens. Who knew that the same doublespeak exists today, right in the good old U. S. of A. The Immigration and Naturalization Service fulfills that role quite well. It is part of the Department of Justice, a department that doles out anything but. There is no fucking justice in a government deciding who can live where, and who can be with another person.

I don't know why the INS exists, or why people still think that there needs to be some kind of mythical body that can decide who has freedom and who does not. There is plenty of evidence that these people are out there; just look at crazy Reform party presidential candidate Pat Robertson. But the more I think about it, the more ridiculous these xenophobes become. Even if there is some sort of logic to deciding who can live in this country and who can't, the way the INS decides this can make your head explode.

Yes, I am biased. I am biased because the government is trying to control marrying the person I love. It's bad enough that by law I need to have either a priest or judge marry my fiancée and I. You don't need a priest or judge to solemnize a job contract, or the sale of a house. Marriage is a sacred contract between two people and whatever family, friend, or god they choose to invite. Now I usually don't buy into religious posturing, but in this instance it makes sense. I don't know what the first invention of the human race was, but I am sure that marriage has to be close. I don't need an agent of the government present to do a damn thing. Fortunately, tyranny has not progressed in this country to a far enough state where the government sticks its ugly head into religion. Because church and state are separate, the government can not say that a religion is not valid. Thus, anybody can start a religion, and of course only that religion can decide who can be a minister or person of the cloth. Thus, anybody can be a minister if they visit the web, and yes, it is legal.

So with a little bit of work, we got around that pesky requirement. But then the government decided that because my fiancée has a different coloured passport that they can make us jump through more hoops. While any alcoholic, wife-beater, pathological liar or incompetent can get hitched if they find a judge or sympathetic priest, since my love is a citizen of a foreign country there is a long, expensive process we must go through. I don't know exactly how long or how expensive, but it will take months and just the forms I have will cost around $500. A lot of hassle, all due to where Sarah was born.

It's not the money that bothers me, because it is more and more apparent that money is only a dirty tool that people need to use to survive in this fucked-up world. I may have some disgust at the fact that I have played by all the right rules, I have shown that I can be responsible, but the freedom that comes with responsibility is being viciously taken away from me. The time does bother me, but that is also not my biggest problem. My biggest problem is that the government has no right to control us in this way, and its blatant double standard makes me want to destroy the INS.

Whatever the purpose of a government is, it should not be to break up families for absolutely no reason. That is exactly what would happen if we tried to get married like all of those other savages. Of course, when a person from another country tries to enter the U.S., they have to swear up and down for sometimes hours that they are not thinking of staying. So much for being innocent until proven guilty, a concept that apparently only applies to citizens. If their answers aren't up to the standards of the person interrogating them (and of course it is all up to the individual in the uniform, who may have lost $300 the night before in poker or has been riding the couch at home), they get kicked back to their country. Heaven help them if they have a blank passport, because only terrorists would have blank, phony passports.

That's just for visiting. When a person wants to come here to stay it is even worse. It would be pretty nice for Sarah and I to live together when we get married, that being the style nowadays, so thus she has to be granted resident status. That involves several more forms, one of which has a $220 fee, and more questions. For example, a person can not be granted residency if he or she has committed a crime involving "moral turpitude," to quote the INS directly. Moral turpitude. What in the name of Ewen Bremner does that mean? Is being a Republican a crime involving moral turpitude? I think so.

The government thus acts as some sort of protector of values when it comes to letting people into the country. What about the people who are already here? An American can do whatever the hell they want to no matter what. They may have a communicable disease, a mental disorder, and a habitual harbinger of "moral turpitude," but they can get married, get a job, and live wherever they want with little government interference. But I have to live at the whim of the government, my only crime being that I am in love with somebody from a foreign country. I have lived my life doing what I thought was right, because I thought I would be rewarded. But I see now that there is no reason, no reason at all, to believe that by living well I will be allowed to live freely. I simply get fucked over.

I pay off my credit cards and bills on time, only to have to pay more to make up for those who are not responsible. I held myself to high standards because I thought that my competence would be enough to survive on, but survival is who you know, not what you know. I have always known that education has always been a farce, but in the context of all the other inverted forms of logic I see, it becomes even worse. And when I tried to "do the right thing" by trying to figure out the legal way to marry my love, I was rewarded with bureaucracy, red tape, and requests for money better spent elsewhere.

It doesn't matter that I haven't done anything wrong. My fiancée is somebody who is even more trustworthy than me. But even so, some part of the government of concerned with the half a million people immigrating the the country every year, making sure they live up to a standard that the native population does not have to live up to. Forget the murderers, forget those people who abuse children, forget drunk drivers. Our country can go to hell as long as natural-born citizens are the ones causing it.

People will claim that we need to have some sort of control over who comes into the country and who doesn't. It's obvious that there are a lot of people whose survival depends on the existence of the INS and all the silly regulations that come with it. The most obvious is the lawyer who I talked to about the whole mess. With government regulations come the leeches necessary to untangle the ball. People who smuggle illegal immigrants across the border for tens of thousands of dollars would be out of a job, much like drug pushers who would be affected if the government legalized marijuana. Bounty hunters who roam the Texas border with Mexico with guns strapped under their arms would too be looking for other things to shoot. The INS and its bullshit are necessary for the economy.

As I was writing this, there was a news story about a militia in Texas holed up against the tyrants in the government. Like most of these right-wing freaks, they were insane, talking about building an army for God and other such nonsense. But they had a sign. It was misspelled and misquoted, but it was supposed to be "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God," a sign I had once put up as well. I have very little in common with those people in militias, with their paranoia, racism, and holy terror. But I wonder how long it will be before reasonable people get fed up with the slow erosion of our freedoms and the insanity of our government.

I don't think I would be against some kind of record-keeping. I could see the need for perhaps two forms: one simply saying that we are married and thus she will be a resident of this country pending citizenship application, and another that says we are not flat broke and thus will not be "a charge of the state" as the INS puts it on form I-864. This would still be far more than citizens need for marriage. People who are recently married don't need to register with the police of their place of residence, at least in this country. And the government doesn't really care if their citizens can take care of each other when they are married; they don't even care that 44 million people have no health insurance.

I never thought that I would be seeing 1984-esque fascism at such an early age. I have very little faith in our future even 25 years down the road, but I had no idea that in 2000 the government would try to make it as difficult as possible for people to get married if one person happens to be from another country. I don't want to be a martyr, but when the government starts interfering with love then something has to be done. We have fought fascism before on foreign soils; in some places, it is coming back again. But the most important fight is in our own country. I hope people won't sit in front of their televisions and surrender without knowing it. As for me . . .


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