I used to marvel at how the DMV was the great equalizer — no matter your status, income or personal hygiene, you had to pick a number, buddy, and wait your turn.
Commercial air travel, exceedingly affordable, is quickly taking its place. The realities of the jet age combine the brightest and most-mundane of humanity.
Consider that one of humankind’s greatest achievements — flight, en masse — is met with the guy digging up his nose for gold, two rows back. Great minds have mastered the physics, engineering, manufacturing, economics and piloting on behalf of those of us who have not mastered the use of tissue, ahem.
(I am composing this blog post at cruising altitude, via Delta’s free wi-fi, sponsored by Google Chrome! Sweet!)
Given how easy it is to book a ticket, is it any wonder that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration has enacted its new and intense screening rules? The agency exists to keep travelers safe — and that is what it is trying to do.
I’ve had a lot of time to contemplate these things of late. In the past four weeks, I’ve flown nine times, been naked-scanned twice, received a chest pat once and even received a “special pat down,” for wearing a skirt.
Some of it was slightly embarrassing, but, the TSA folks were courteous and even apologetic.
After the screenings, I tried to muster some outrage of the sort that I’m reading about around the nation: Open declarations that the screenings are unconstitutional. Hilarious mockery from the Canadians. Concern about the feelings of sex-assault victims. The guy who told a TSA worker, “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” (The Daily Mail, in the UK, has a photographic summary of the U.S. reaction, including photos of the woman who wore a bikini through the security checkpoint.)
As for me? I’m having trouble getting worked up about it. Every argument I come up with is shot down with two-word rebuttals. Plastic explosives. Underwear bomber. Who knows.
As Jeff Foxworthy would croon, redneck-style, “Well thanks fer spoilin’ it fer evrybody else!”
TSA should be challenged, on a national scale, through the courts. America is stronger for its checks and balances. However, I’m not a fan of the micro-protests, hammering on the people who are just following orders. It’s not “us” travelers against “them” TSA agents. It’s “us” who desire to land after takeoff versus “them” who’d like to kill us.
Up here at cruising altitude, I am secretly glad that everyone went through the same intense security screenings that I did. Even nose picker guy.
Thus, I’ve packed my dignity in my checked luggage. It should meet me upon arrival at the gate.