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The Daily Tar Heel

Outside View Of America at Its Very Finest

Outclassed at Baggage Claim

Oh, the darker days of democracy -- when voter turnout was embarrassingly low, when obscene amounts of corporate dollars funded campaigns and when it was OK for the legislative branch to mettle in simple matters like overruling the outcome of a presidential election.

One appointed president and many progressive months later, Americans find themselves living in an unique time. America is fighting a war without approval from Congress, spending money like a platinum-card-carrying champ and systematically reducing privacy and civil liberties to entrants on the "endangered species" list.

On the bright side, the recent overly discussed Enron scandal gave the largely Democrat-backed Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform bill the final push it needed. The bill is a step in the right direction in ensuring that American-branded democracy remains intact.

I used to harp on living in America, and I still do to some extent. No one wants to live in a land of sanctioned oppression and hush-hush human rights violations or a country that continues to treat the basic necessity of life known as health as an (expensive) open-market commodity.

Neither does anyone want to live in a place where a wretched fraud like (the recently subpoenaed) Miss Cleo can make millions of dollars using a phone and phony accent.

The defensive backlash I receive when pointing out these obvious flaws is alarming enough for me (to shut my mouth). Although the responses are always the same, "Then why don't you just go back to your own country," they are nevertheless voiced with such glassy-eyed vigor that I dread what else Americans have been brainwashed to do when faced with such a dire threat to national security as myself.

These days, I keep quiet. I pay my taxes like any other American (yes, glassy-eyed American, non-citizens pay taxes and don't get to vote) but who's counting? That would be like Billiam in Tennessee claiming he spends the most money on ninja supplies in the Southeast -- so what if he spends the most money in the universe and all its dimensions, including the everybody-is-a-ninja dimension? That doesn't make him a ninja! His idea of being a ninja is dressing up in black and reciting lines from "The Karate Kid," like "Mercy is for the weak" and "Get him a bodybag, yeah!" Besides, real ninjas don't buy their supplies. Please.

In all seriousness, I'm officially considered a non-resident alien by the INS, a fully eligible taxpayer by the IRS and a nonvoting blip on the radar by the Census. This shouldn't stop me from questioning your government, though I can hear it now -- "Then why don't you just go back to your own country!" What I'm really saying to the glassy-eyed voters of America, is that you should be questioning your government.

Fine. If you're not going to question your government, why not just get a good chuckle out of it, then?

For example, how about this one. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge recently said, "There are certain things you know as very usual and normal activities. When you see someone bending over to light their shoe, this ought to be an alert." This statement, brought to you by Captain Obvious and the Straightforward Seven, refers to the case of Richard Reid, who authorities say was stopped by flight attendants and passengers as he tried to set off a bomb in his shoes during a trans-Atlantic flight.

True enough, Director Ridge. If I were to sit on an airplane and attempt to light my curiously wire-laden shoe while muttering "Why won't this stupid bomb light?" I would hope that others looking on would think something was out of the ordinary. But paid-in-part-by-my-tax-dollars-Director Ridge, Richard Reid shouldn't have been on the airplane in the first place!

So the solution is for the federal government to take charge of airport security? Great -- now it's definitely going to run like a well-oiled machine.

What's a Canadian in North Carolina to do? I suppose I could be angry with Bush for refusing to sign the Kyoto protocol or with Fleischer for telling me to "watch what I say," but in the end, I can't help but laugh at the halfwits running your country.

Eugene Kim might seem like a bleeding-heart, bed-wetting liberal, but he doesn't have a bed! So the joke's on you! You can contact him, especially if you have a bed, by e-mail at chinook@email.unc.edu.

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