Sunday, January 27, 2008

Passport, Please

I keep thinking about that ubiquitous frog. You know, that slowly boiling one that everyone uses in examples to talk about how we just adjust to gradual change that we would never accept all at once?

Today's Press Herald covers the changing rules for crossing the border from Canada to the US with a lighthearted story about what a "pain in the butt" they are. It looks like a birth certificate and a drivers' license are required for now, with next year's rules asking for a "single identity document"--in other words, a passport.

I got a letter from the State of Maine last week saying that we need to prove our citizenship or else we will lose our state-sponsored insurance coverage.

I've written about this before. I'm still thinking of all of the old stories I've read about people who have to carry their papers with them at all time. I'm thinking about countries at war. But mostly I'm thinking about my daughter, who is ineligible for a passport because her father--to whom I was never married--disappeared after signing her birth certificate but before we could set up a legal custody arrangement. Which means that she can't get a passport without his presence, in person, at the passport office. Which is about as likely to happen as me flying to work tomorrow on wings that have sprouted out of my back.

That's not even to mention the hassles this will cause for my transgender friends, or immigrants, or activists on whoever's watch list, or so many other people who for whatever reason will have trouble getting a passport. I had already resigned myself to the fact that we will not travel overseas until S is 18, but now I have to get used to the fact that we will also not travel to Quebec or Montreal. Not for field trips, not for anything.

Is it warm in here?


Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

Living in the post-9/11 world means getting cornholed by the government while they assure us it's for our own protection.

And yeah, the Waterville paper ran that same article (because the Sentinel, the Kennebec Journal and the Press Herald are all owned by the same conglomerate) and the lighthearted "oh well" tone pissed me off.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

Though it's also true I just like saying "cornholed."


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