May 24, 2013
Posted on Sep 27, 2011
By Susan Zakin
My husband is embarrassed and I feel badly for him, but I also feel the same way I have felt ever since I returned from Africa. I feel safe. I am glad my husband is here, and I am impatient for the day when we can bring his sons to live in a place where they can grow up without worrying about malaria or periodic political upheaval.
Unlike so many of my liberal friends, I don’t discount the vehemence of anti-American feeling or the fragility of civil society. Certainly I worry that “the system” has the latitude to lock people away in places like Guantanamo Bay whether they are guilty or not, and I am disgusted that the American people have been drugged by a steady diet of celebrity journalism. But as I remind my husband, during World War II, the U.S. herded Japanese-Americans into internment camps with no evidence they had any involvement with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The immigration guy isn’t responsible for American foreign policy. Inside the borders of our country, he was nice and respectful, which is more than you can say for government officials in Kenya. And in the end, we made it onto the plane.
But there was a weird coda: My best friend, who is renting us her mother’s apartment in San Francisco, told us that two FBI officers had showed up at her door the previous morning. Sensing that they weren’t on high alert, she joked around, telling them I was probably more of a troublemaker than my husband, an easygoing guy whose only political activism was agitating for payment for his fellow players on a soccer team nearly 20 years ago.
“I think they were just doing, what’s the word, due diligence,” she said.
“The system works,” I say. “What do you think?”
He points out that the security agents should have questioned him after he went through the TSA checkpoint, which would have saved him the embarrassment of being pulled off the plane.
“It could work better,” he says.
Yeah, I think. And it could work a whole lot worse.
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