Friday, September 16, 2011
Open borders for all! (yes we can)
So I am Canadian. I am more Canadian than most people I know. In fact, I think I am more Canadian than ALL people I know. I'm serious. I can trace my mama's family history back to Spanish John Macdonell, who basically got pissed off at England owning Scotland (post-Culloden), and he was one of the main Canadian signatures on some official documents. And then there's my Dad's family, who were bakers in Bristol, UK, who decided that they were stuck where they were, and they moved to Canada to be amongst the wilderness and hang out with some Indians (his word not mine!, as written in a 1914 letter home).
The irony is that many of my family has passed through the States en route to Canada, decided they didn't like it, and they moved north. Which I suppose has done my fam really well so far.. until me.
I spent my childhood pining for New York City. All I wanted was a chance to live there and work there. Vancouver was like, been there done that. And then 9/11 happened and suddenly any hope I had of living there under the radar evaporated.
I am Canadian. I like to play it safe. I like to ask permission before I do anything out of the ordinary. Also, I am from Vancouver. So suffice it to say i run a little bit slower than the rest of the pack.
I have a cousin, from Hamilton, ON, who was born in Portland, because his dad (a doctor) was doing some residency in the States and was there for only a matter of WEEKS. And because of that, he can live anywhere in the States he'd ever want to and the customs operators will hold out their arms and say, Welcome Home, we can't wait for you to pay our taxes! And yet when I show up... it's, "hi, come spend money here for 6 months, but ope, don't you dare stay any longer! Or you'll get deported and blacklisted! Ok welcome here's a list of hotels!"
And I am pining--aching-- to leave and work in different countries, to add to their value as a society, to bring my education and work experience and zeal for life to their economy, to spend my hard-earned money purchasing their very expensive organic, gluten-free, vegan products and perhaps one day investing in their real estate market.
A very good girlfriend of mine is from a tiny town outside of Chicago. She is one of the most talented, professional, and sweet makeup artists I have ever met. She came to Vancouver just about 2 years ago to attend a 1-year program at VFS. And she fell in love with this city and met a great boy from Columbia who also loves this city. And they are fighting, FIGHTING, tooth and nail, to stay here. She just got employed in a dreaded full-time office job -- that doesn't really give much time for her to pursue her passion -- simply because they will give her residency here. She is giving up time from her life to work in something she doesn't really believe in because she so wholly believes in her place in Vancouver and one day as a sought-after makeup artist in Van.
But here is this amazing, talented, kind chicka who just wants to live, work, and pay taxes in Vancouver, but she was born south of the border, and therefore our government makes it insanely difficult for her. And here's me, very educated and with much work experience, and all I wanna do is book that flight to NYC and be a starvin actress who pays her rent on time and serves people food or answers phone calls in the daytime... and the US government makes it very clear that to try without a visa or green card would mean that I'm obviously a terrorist. For god's sakes, I'd even pay for my own medical bills!!! Did I mention that I look and talk the same as your average Yank?? I've even started to say "PRAH-cess" instead of "PROH-cess", and "SAW-ree" instead of "SOH-ree".
We live in a time of CHANGE. 2012, Yes We Can, a black president and a white prime minister who holds kittens for photo ops. Gay marriage is legal in many places and I can make cheap-to-free phone calls as long as I have internet access. A lot of the Star Trek gadgets are becoming commonplace items to have (iPad anyone!), and more and more people work from home or abroad because we are all connected through the Internet.
And yet... if I spend more than 6 months in the US or UK without a visa or sponsorship, I may be deported with no chance of ever seeing that country again. C'mon world, just because my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents... and so on and so forth for at least 7 generations, never wanted to leave the land of maple trees and angry french people, doesn't mean that I shouldn't get a CHANCE.
It's my -- our -- generation that is to be the next leading force in the world. Please, I ask of you, help us to lax up these laws. We've gotten so fear-driven - might i even say, paranoid - that we are stunting our growth as a society. And yes, I realize there are reasons for laws. I'm sure there are many out htere who will gladly argue with me as to the importance of these laws.
But for heaven's sake: NO, I'm not a terrorist. NO, I won't take jobs from your average American (if anything I'll just trade with the ones who want to move to Canada!) YES, I will add to your society and YES you will love me.