by Beverly Eakman
November 29, 2010
Most people had already made their Thanksgiving reservations — mostly non-refundable tickets — to visit relatives and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday. That is precisely why the Transportation Security Administration picked the week before the busiest flight holiday of the year to spring its groping and full-body-scanners on travelers. Discovering that their campaign of intimidation generated only a smattering of overt protests at the nation’s airports — even after John Tyner uttered his now-famous “don’t touch my junk” threat to TSA agents at the San Diego International Airport and made a video that went viral with his iPhone — policymakers became even more emboldened.
“It was probably not the most artful way of expressing my point,” Tyner told ABC News, “but I was trying to keep it lighthearted…. I said it with a half smile on my face.” In return for his tongue-in-cheek rebuke, the TSA gave Tyner the fullest possible hassle and even threatened him with jail.
Then we learned the TSA had acknowledged that senior officials and lawmakers routinely bypass standard airport screenings, after a video surfaced showing an incoming House Speaker John Boehner bypassing airport security checks. The TSA’s “Big Sis,” Janet Napolitano, never flies commercial, nor do most of her fellow colleagues among the government elite. According to Associated Press, most are “exempted government officials [who] have gone through several levels of security clearances, including FBI background checks.”
Well, if that’s the standard, my closest relative fits, along with others in the Top Secret-and-above category — and possibly even me. But that’s not the standard. Elitist status is the standard.
But who is exempt is not the point. Nor is the lack of a mass protest at Thanksgiving, inasmuch as everyone was anxious to avoid more delays.
The point is that our “betters” among the governing caste knew full well that most people would feel they could not disappoint loved ones and therefore would be hesitant to forego the cost of their tickets — as if we needed further proof that our government couldn’t care less about the plight of average Americans. No wonder travelers who were offended feared delay and further intimidation more than they felt outrage; or that they didn’t know quite how to send an effective message to our nation’s “leaders,” such as they are.
Moreover, the tactic worked so well that the TSA is set to move on to trains, long-distance buses and subways. Notice, it is now post-election, not campaign season, so our “betters” will keep pushing the envelope till we holler “uncle,” while simultaneously ignoring the gaps in our borders, allowing the immigration of still more individuals from places hostile to the U.S., and giving the green light to outright criminals, always off on a technicality or paroled.
Two weeks ago I wrote a column, “Just Because They Can,” which went viral overnight, explaining why so many of our freedoms have been stripped away in so short a time frame, and articulating the logic behind the duplicity and capriciousness of various new rules aimed at so-called “security” and “order.”
So, let’s talk about an appropriate response, inasmuch as no one seems to have a viable plan.
Ever since the initial Civil Rights March of 1963, Americans disgruntled for one reason or another have tried, without much success, to duplicate the sit-ins, protests and songs and civil disobedience on the Washington, D.C. “mall.” Based here in Washington, D.C., I can attest to the fact that protest movements have been a joke among government workers since at least 1985, when I worked across from the famous Lafayette Park, where picketers and demonstrators tend to gather weekly and sometimes daily. Officials in Congress and at the White House ignore them; bureaucrats find it a nuisance getting to and leaving work; Metro transportation officials sigh in resignation. Virtually no official or news service takes them seriously. Sometimes the mainstream media will try to get a photo angle that makes it appear there are more participants than there are, if they like their cause, but even the press has mostly tired of covering these “peaceable assemblages.”
Which means that method has run its course. So has writing letters to one’s state or federal legislator. A low-level aide intercepts it and cranks out a boilerplate response, tailoring the first paragraph to reflect whatever-it-is the constituent is complaining about. I churned these out myself for the Justice Department. Lobbyists fare a little better, as do some walk-ins, since they are viewed as a potential source of campaign funds, but even then, if no one has seen this individual before, the cause usually garners little more than a polite smile.
Understand also that this latest stunt in airports is partly a response to the nation’s distaste for a national ID. Yes, of course, the drivers’ license and Social Security number are virtual ID’s, but they don’t work since terrorists can either forge them, or simply waltz in and pretend to live here.
What to do, then?
Here’s what to do: First, recognize that the only thing that matters is dollars. In this case, dollars to the airlines, which are in a better position than you to lobby and complain. So, pick a holiday period. Get with key people who can help get a massive groundswell going in your city or state. Then simply refuse to fly. If government steps up its intimidation to include gropes and unreasonable searches at train stations, refuse to ride them, too. And keep on doing that till the airlines and Amtrak and bus companies all holler “uncle”!
Will this be inconvenient? Yes, it will. But if you don’t do it, the government will keep upping the ante. I mean, they’re not only screening you, but your prescriptions bottles and liquids whenever it suits them — to catch terrorists? Oh, please! They’ve got you wearing football helmets to ride a bike. They’ve got you slamming on the brakes to avoid a collision, thanks to unnecessary speed traps and shortened yellow lights. They’ve got you separating everything in your trash cans. They’ve stuck you with toilets that don’t work. They’ve got you scooping up dog droppings even in heavily wooded parks, then providing no trash cans in which to deposit the package, forcing you to “enjoy” your hike with feces attached to your belt at the threat of a fine from roving police.
Meanwhile, they’ve all but taken away your right to self-defense, as police are too busy with seat-belt violators to catch assailants. They’ve stopped you from lighting sparklers on the Fourth of July. They waste your tax dollars on phony “climate change” data, then have you purchasing mercury-containing light bulbs you can’t dispose of, under the cover of “saving the planet.” They tell you want to eat, then use your tax dollars to pay (via the War on Hunger) some 70 percent of “qualifying” males and nearly three-quarters of females in the program who are already overweight or obese. Thanks to the EPA, time-consuming vehicle emissions tests are mandated annually in most states, instead of at the 5-year intervals initially advertised when the program was launched.
Exactly how much are you prepared to put up with? Do you really think future administrations are going to reverse all this stuff if people don’t start standing up for their rights? You are being run ragged to satisfy the privilege of “exempt” government honchos who never have to drive their own car, never have to stand in a grocery line, never have to pick up their own cleaning, and never have to be groped going through make-believe “security” lines at the airport.
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C’mon people! Get a grip! You’re under attack! And if the good people you recently elected find themselves suddenly blackballed out of being committee chairpersons for having agreed with you, their constituent, don’t think for one minute they aren’t going to pipe down and “play nice” once that reality sinks in. They always do.
So, let’s get this straight: Why should you boycott the airlines, and other modes of mass transportation if necessary? BECAUSE YOU STILL CAN!
© 2010 Beverly Eakman - All Rights Reserved
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Beverly K. Eakman is a former educator and retired federal employee who served as writer and editor for three government agencies, including the U.S. Dept. of Justice, NASA and the Voice of America. Today, she is a Washington, DC-based freelance writer, author of six books, and a frequent speaker on the lecture circuit. Her new book, hitting the street next week, is A Common-Sense Platform for the 21st Century (Midnight Whistler Publishers, 2010).
She can be reached through her website: