Papers Please

I spent most the 1980s in the USSR.  I would go to Moscow or Kiev or elsewhere on scientific missions and their scientists would travel to a central location for meetings.  Just like here. Except.

The first time I saw this was during my first trip in. I was a bit of a rube of course and the entire thing was some fantastic adventure, very exotic, actually very pleasant. The people couldn't have been friendlier and more personable and to this day I am thinking about many of them.  But there I was at a meeting at a trade representation and with a fine fellow who was in from Kiev - a Nobel Prize nominee 3 times and he sat on the Soviet Academy of Science as a chair of the neuroscience section.  A big cheese. Very big cheese.

He arrive at the meeting and a clerk for the guys who were hosting it walked up to him and curtly said "papers". Nothing more. Just "papers".  The honored guest rifled through his pockets and produced his papers which were then studied over by the "clerk".  I approached
him as he was famous to me and stuck out my hand in greeting mumbling something about 'what an honor' and was roughly pushed back by the "clerk" who was forbidding conversation until  the good Doctor's papers were examined. All finally was deemed in order and the Doctor, now horribly embarrassed that his visitor from the United States had to witness this scene; this "in your place" scene; this personal humiliation, continued on the discussion.

I think of this horrible example of a man, this Trump fella, hell-bent on keeping out all manner of people with an endless stream of mis-labeled papers please dictates, and who by fate landed in the Oval Office to do his duty as only an insane partisan could view it, setting in motion our version of "Papers Please" and the countless humiliations to come.