We have all been terrified these past few weeks watching the devastation visited upon the good people of Oklahoma by a series of powerful tornados; entire houses lifted off their foundations and whirled about like so many vegetables in a blender, children sucked out of cars by the force of killer winds. It has been a brutal thing to watch and even more difficult to contemplate. But while most of us are sitting around contemplating, an amazing group of Canadians decided to do something about the suffering.
Our neighbors to the north, moved by compassion for suffering people a thousand miles away went to work gathering life sustaining food, water and clothing. Before long there was a tractor-trailer full on its way, sent by a Christian relief group called the Windsor Lifeline Outreach. I have always had a fondness for all things Canadian, such a beautiful country with which we share a border and with whom we have been at peace for over two hundred years. But to learn that a group of them would be so moved to action by the suffering of Americans so far away, raised my admiration for Canada to an even higher place.
Unfortunately, our Department of Homeland Security believes that no good deed should go unpunished. Ever-vigilant, American officials at the border refused to let the shipment proceed until all 20,000 kilograms of food, blankets and diapers onboard was itemized in alphabetical order with the country of origin of each product noted. A spokesman for Windsor Lifeline Outreach, Dennis Suave, said that it was a physical impossibility to do the paperwork required to get the perishable food to Oklahoma before it spoils.
Defenders of all things government will be quick to point out that I would be singing a different tune if a nuclear bomb was hidden cleverly inside a package of Huggies. Lovers of the all-powerful State will make the case that the Windsor Outreach people should not have shipped perishable food in the first place, that this is what happens when mere civilians get involved in disaster relief instead of leaving it to government experts. Big government types will applaud Homeland Security for doing their job, keeping us safe from rampant, out of control Canadian humanitarianism.
The first casualty of the War on Terror was the Bill of Rights, the second apparently is our common sense. Despite our government’s ham-fisted response, I would like to thank the good people of Canada for their big hearted gesture of good will, and offer my apologies for our inability as a nation to overcome the stupidity of our bureaucracy.