Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Evolution Of Desperation

My third anti-TSA column in as many months is online at the Guardian -- well, a somewhat bowdlerized version of the column is online. Originally, the last two paragraphs said this:
When gropings make small children scream in terror, TSA director James Marchand (cribbing a page from the paedophiles' playbook) advised agents “If you can come up with some kind of a game to play with a child, it makes it a lot easier.”

Indeed, and makes it easier for pervs on a playground hissing “Let’s play Stop the Terrorist” too. Still, if TSA glosses over Ventura’s lawsuit as it has all the others, if American parents intend teaching their children that TSA’s treatment is an acceptable precondition for travelling within the borders of their own country, I have a better idea: Parents, abandon all pretence and outright raise your kids to be strippers or prostitutes. If they’ll spend their lives ogled nude or physically fondled by strangers they don’t know and don’t even find attractive, at least let them make a little money at it.
What truly frightens me are the lawsuit precedents I mention in my latest column: TSA has generally been losing or settling the various lawsuits brought against them -- yet still, they keep pushing forward rather than backing down. The American people don't want this, the American courts won't approve it, and still TSA does not care. The agency and the unelected poliitcal appointees who head it have abandoned all pretense of accountability, all pretense they are "public servants" rather than "the public's masters."

When the "scan or be groped" policy first came into effect, I wrote a Guardian column titled "Get Your Hands Off Me, TSA!" which ran on November 17, eight days before Thanksgiving. True fact: when I first pitched it to my editor, the original idea was to focus on the National Opt-Out Day Protest scheduled for Thanksgiving Eve. My editor initially planned to run the piece the day of the actual protest, then changed his mind and ran it a full week before that.

And I was relieved. Why? Because back then, as late as last November, I was still optimistic enough to think "In light of the outrage this policy is generating, TSA is sure to back down. The policy will likely be repealed before the Opt-Out protest even starts! If he waits until Opt-Out Day to run my Opt-Out column, it'll be as obsolete as an op-ed urging Nixon to resign."

In other words, I figured the groping policy would go the way of the short-lived "bathroom ban" after the Christmas bombing attempt of 2009. It hasn't. It most spectacularly hasn't. It's even spreading; as my most recent column mentions, the House of Representatives voted 417 to 3 in favor of a bill that would expand TSA to cover all forms of mass transit.

Yet the whole issue has largely fallen off the mainstream media radar, assuming it ever registered to begin with. I've written before about what I call the media gaslighting of America -- respected pundits sneering that only the most selfish and sexually uptight prudes would take umbrage with the TSA, rather than grovel before the altar of the false god Safety.

Sinclair Lewis got it wrong. He said, "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in the American flag and carrying a cross." But no -- it's wearing latex gloves and hissing "Let's play Stop the Terrorist."


Anonymous Bruce Liddel said...

Thank you Jennifer!

8:00 PM  

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