Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Don't touch my bags, if you please...

Sometime in the Seventies it was apropos to thumb one's nose at authority. Depending on one's political slant, either brave or dumb student leaders in the midst of fighting against the Vietnam War or demanding even more civil rights would encourage us to give it "to the Man." It was clear that the Man was constituted authority and the Establishment. In the Seventies the "revolution" was fought by those who would reject the values of the earlier so-called "greatest generation." Liberated women would burn their bras and swallow birth control pills. Couples would cohabit. Men would smoke, ingest and drink just about anything at least once. All of this behavior was designed to show contempt for established norms, but basically defined a generation that openly questioned or was completely out of touch with morality. Somehow, in the four decades since that turbulent time, it is clear we are now "the Man" and we are in danger of emasculating this generation by intimidation and fear. No better example exists today than the well-meaning, but convoluted logic of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). In order to protect weary holiday travelers they have put into place new screening techniques which ostensibly exist to protect us from terrorists, but which demonstrably mean an invasion of personal space and comfort. TSA screeners are seen by travelers less as protectors of our lives and more as unwanted sexual perverts, who get off on patting down their victims. Frankly, I am appalled that this has gone so far. There have been pictures and videos posted of the TSA officials going far afield in their efforts to keep the airways safe. Yesterday I saw a video of young boy, barely five whose father felt compelled to remove his son's shirt in order for the TSA officials to better be able to wand the youngster. One joker tries to blow up his underwear and everyone is now held hostage. It seems to me that the Israelis do a much better job of security in an area where they are surrounded by acknowledged enemies. Yet, how often do you hear of a youngster being forced for no reasonable suspicion to disrobe? We have become so paranoid about terrorism that we have allowed the lunatics to take over the running of the asylum. I don't care if anyone scans me or subjects me to low-level waves of radiation of whatever size or design they may desire. But please, don't touch a gray hair on my mother's head or wherever else. My "junk" should be sacrosanct and not meant to be manhandled by any TSA officer, regardless of how much they think I look like a terrorist. Luckily, I don't have to travel any time in the immediate future. I hope the TSA comes to its senses and tones down the level of sexual assaults and comes up with a practice that is both safe and secure for passengers.

No comments: