"Staggering Rudeness"

A reader writes:

As a UK citizen but Canadian resident who travels frequently to the US on business I, and many like me, have basically avoided travelling to the US since 9/11 because of the staggering rudeness and general militarism encountered at the border. I have been pulled out of the line and made to wait for hours in an airless room, not allowed to go to the bathroom, etc. It's pretty standard stuff.

However, travelling to LA last week it seemed as if a veil had lifted. The line-ups were still there, but the border guys were joking. One, a former Mexican wrestling champ, told me I should write a movie about hispanics working border patrol. The guns seemed to have disappeared. Perhaps it is too much to associate it with the results of the midterms, but there was a palpable feeling of what I can only describe as relief. For the first time since 9/11 I felt that a long nightmare might be about to end.

I had the same experience a couple of months ago at one of those mom- and-pop border crossings in Vermont but I got the strong impression seventy year old Jim and Bob had never gotten too caught up in the madness in the first place.