In the past day or so, it has been interesting to juxtapose the anxieties of first-time posters with the ongoing perceptions and ruminations and strategems of longer-term crew on the Brock.
On the one side: How can this be? I don’t want this! How can I simultaneously clear this up while not stumbling into radar that will take me out? Surely there must be some solution. Where does this circle begin? Is there any reasonable way out? This is such a mess — certainly someone will have to fix it! Maybe I can just wait for this to clear up? Or keep on hiding indefinitely?
On the other side: (1) This is election year in the United States, and maybe we can make the extraterritorial predicament an issue, and maybe Romney would be better than Obama. (2) FATCA is so overreaching and fantastic, and it just has to damage the US economy, and the rest of the world will have to realize that national sovereignty and human rights can’t take a back seat, and the incredible details mean that the project just has to fail. (3) Surely Canada will have to treat US persons just like everybody else, and it will help if we work hard to lobby this or that branch of officialdom. (4) This is a big important story suppressed by mainstream media, and sooner or later it has to break anyway, and we can advance the cause by commenting and corresponding in all possible directions.
A first reality is that Brock has become the international watering hole for extraterritorials, and that the monitoring, information exchange, updating, fellowship, etc fill a huge need that is likely to grow. A second reality is that Brock consists of very few individuals who want to publicly identify themselves at this stage, even though hundreds have participated. A third reality is the practical inability to organize much of anything beyond the increased awareness of widely scattered individuals. A fourth reality is that officialdom, whether US or Canadian or somewhere else, has and likely will have little incentive to get worked up over Brocker issues. A fifth reality is that the drudgery of resolution inevitably will fall on the solitary individual or family.
Elucidating the complexities and technicalities of the entangling mechanisms of US personhood is a first and clearly worthwhile task. Documenting the situation can save much duplication of effort. Assessment of developments and trends can help to facilitate timely actions. In hindsight, knowing what you know now, what would you have done when? Looking ahead, and extrapolating from the past, what is it reasonable to expect in the future? Phil Hodgen memorably describes the present as “semi-good.” Finally, the therapy of company in sharing misery is indisputable.
In the end, the USS United States seems to be keeling over. A maelstrom could ensue. The horizon is fraught with uncertainties, not least of which is how the rules are going to change next, and when. Just look at the dog’s breakfast of overlapping legislations and jurisdictions that has emerged over the past decade.
As a group, we are in no way special — unless perhaps as an ironic phantom of American exceptionalism.
Sauve qui peut.