Sarnia is a unique town because we are a border town to Port Huron, Michigan. So many Sarnians jump onto the Bluewater Bridges and head over for cheap shopping, concerts and to pick up EBay items because its shipping charges are significantly cheaper. On our side of the border we spend a few lunches a month at a beautiful restaurant in Sarnia called On the Front. From fourteen floors up it overlooks the beautiful St. Clair River and Lake Huron along with our yacht clubs, Chemical Valley and our beautiful city. It is a gorgeous sight and the all you can eat fish and chips on Fridays is a good draw also.
We were up at On the Front one day last week and we look across the border to see a massive white balloon attached by a cable about 300 feet in the air, if not higher. Normally we would just shrug this off as a big car sale or something and the balloon would come down a few days later. This balloon was different though. It was all white, with no advertising on it. We find out that this is a security balloon with cameras on it that can see letters on a ship from up to 9 miles away and see the silhouette of a chip from up to 20 miles away. Here we are, less than half a kilometer away and instantly feeling like they were so close they could figure out my blood type.
After a few middle fingers, making jokes about buying some high powered pellet guns to shoot it down and our initial violated feelings, clouds started forming and they pulled the balloon down. Every day or so now we see this balloon go back up and we are reminded that are big brothers across the river are watching us.
Normally I wouldn’t be all that upset. It’s not like I have anything to hide. Plus, I’ve been reassured that they have technology on the balloon that doesn’t allow the cameras to see inside of homes. Yeah Right. I have a feeling the technology they are speaking of is called “lying.” A few days ago, I was about 3.5km, according to Google Maps, away from the balloon. I was driving down the road and there was that balloon, hovering straight ahead, with cameras powerful enough to see my acne from across the city. At that moment I felt strange. It’s beginning to feel like some sci-fi war movie where aliens attacked and to monitor us put up tall balloons everywhere with the ability to check on you whenever they feel like it. Freedom, but not really.
You really begin to see how fear drives a country when stuff like this happens. Privacy becomes offensive when the threat of the unknown is hiding behind the corner. It sucks even more when their fear starts to affect innocent and apathetic people. Because the United States of America is so fearful of the types of people that would dare touch their soil they are willing to violate entire cities, like a parent who installs Google Latitude on their eighteen year olds cell phone.
I realize life will go on and the balloon won’t have that much of an effect on our day to day lives. To me though, that is not the point. The point is that because of the inability of the United States to trust anyone but themselves, we now become mistrusted. Let’s be honest though, the people that they are afraid of aren’t swimming through the St. Clair River. They are respectable people, in business suits. You know the type you cell weapons to and promote in their ranks. If they learned to be a country of people that care for the other, and not try to spy on them and figure out their every move. If they learned to be a country that doesn’t incite fear into everyone around them then they wouldn’t have to spend nearly as much money defending themselves from people that want to hurt them. Put up all the balloons you want. It will become just another facade of the power that you are trying to prove to the world that you have which only makes you look weaker. Real power doesn’t need to prove itself and it doesn’t need to guard itself. Respect is earned through how you treat people, not how well you can intimidate them.
You’ll probably catch the few immigrants who are swimming across the border to see their families. I’d suggest though that you spend your time and technology building a country that isn’t going to destroy itself from the inside out. While I don’t think you’ll care, I’ll be joining the moon the balloon protest, I hope you aim those cameras at us capture some birds eye footage. I have heard my ass looks great from certain angles.