Welcome to America

Via Andrew Sullivan, a young Icelandic woman recounts her experiences with the new home of the free:

During the last twenty-four hours I have probably experienced the greatest humiliation to which I have ever been subjected. During these last twenty-four hours I have been handcuffed and chained, denied the chance to sleep, been without food and drink and been confined to a place without anyone knowing my whereabouts, imprisoned. Now I am beginning to try to understand all this, rest and review the events which began as innocently as possible.

You see, in 1995 she overstayed a visa for three weeks. I remember standing in the Reykjavik airport on a security line with my shoes off, held in my left hand, ready to be placed on the conveyor belt for scanning once I got far enough in line for that to be possible. I stepped forward toward an Icelandic security guy who was checking passports and boarding passes who asked me: "Sir, why aren't you wearing your shoes?" It was a stark reminder, to me, of how accustomed we've become to an ever-escalating series of irrational security measures. What this woman describes is, clearly, well-beyond asking people to take off their shoes, but it's all on a continuum of panic and sheep-like submission to a culture of fear.