All mainstream commentators agree: the protest of the TSA's body searches at America's airports was an abysmal failure. They also agree that that's how it should be. My local "newspaper" the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reprinted a Bloomberg column by Margaret Carlson called Man Up When It's Time For Your Junk Pat-Down—
Who likes going through security? I’ve ground my molars while stuck behind someone wearing lace-up boots, and that’s before the new, anatomically correct scanner, which takes a graphic picture of your bits, paunches and other concessions to gravity.
It’s a whopping assault on our dignity. The airlines would love to return to the days of putting the customer first. To the guy in uniform with blue rubber gloves, we’re potential terrorists with explosives in our undergarments just pretending to be going home to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving.
Try feeling the Transportation Safety Administration agent’s pain. Exposed to public scrutiny while they work, it’s easy to get annoyed when TSA workers chit-chat about last night’s game or today’s lunch. Still, the mistakes are whoppers: a man whose urostomy bag was broken, a breast-cancer survivor compelled to show her prosthesis.
Enduring security screening is all we are asked to do in the war on terror while others are subjected to multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. It should be embarrassing to shirk our part in averting another attack. Yet for a loud minority being touched by a TSA agent is too much of an inconvenience.
Enter John Tyner, a guy with a cell-phone camera who decided against the full-body image in favor of the pat-down, achieving instant celebrity when he warned the agent “touch my junk and I’ll have you arrested.”
To him, let me say, in another cliche of the moment, Man up! For a country where porn gets the most Internet traffic and the TV family hour is awash in sex, it’s interesting that the place where we’ve decided to get prudish is an antiseptic exercise where the purpose is to keep a 747 with 500 people on board from being blown up.
She goes on in this vein. Margaret is proud of her willingness to endure a "whopping assault" on her dignity, but she's doing her part to keep us all safe. After all, it is "all we are asked to do" in the war on Terror, and compared to serving in useless, destructive wars in Asia, it is the least we can do.
Margaret seems to be unfamiliar with the Bill Of Rights. In particular, she seems to be unfamiliar with the 4th Amendment in that document.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
In so far as TSA airport searches are a clear violation of the 4th Amendment—notwithstanding the ambiguity of the word "reasonable"—because no Warrants are issued by a judge citing probable cause allowing somebody to "touch your junk" against your will, which is not "reasonable" in any context I can think of, then it would appear that "all" that is required of us (as Margaret put it) in our war on an Abstract Noun is to give up our rights as listed in the Constitution.
[I apologize for that last paragraph. There are many reasons why I am not a lawyer, not the least of which is that lawyers have done far too much damage already.]
The last time I flew, a TSA employee took my tube of toothpaste. Doesn't sound like much, does it? But taking my toothpaste was a violation of my 4th Amendment rights. And it is insulting for a simpleton like Margaret Carlson to tell me to "Man Up" as my constitutional rights go up in smoke.
Got it, Margaret? Still feeling so smug?
Let me be clear here. I'm not activist like Glenn Greenwald (video below). I'm not trying to change the system. This game is rigged. In an Empire, as opposed to a Republic governed by the rule of law, we American citizens gave up our constitutional rights long ago. And after 9/11, when the war on an Abstract Noun commenced, the active elimination of those rights by the Government accelerated greatly. I described what we have to "endure" now in The TSA Protection Racket. There's little or no chance we will ever regain our rights.
But here's the bottom line: when you or Margaret willingly undergo a dose of radiation or TSA employees feeling you up at the airport, at the very least you need to understand what has disppeared that you used to have—your rights as citizens as defined by the Constitution.
In the video below Glenn Greenwald explains what you need to know about civil rights and terrorism. I suggest you watch it so you know exactly where you stand in America. Is it too much to expect that Margaret Carlson might watch it too? Probably so.