Gotta keep moving forward…
Gotta keep moving forward…
Remember when all those ‘patriotic’ folks told you that the reason those religious fundamentalist terrorists were targeting us here in the good old US of A was that they hated our freedom?
Well, I suppose that we needn’t worry about THAT anymore, because we are losing that freedom every day, a little bit at a time. When did America become a police state?
I decided about a week ago to buy tickets to go see my parents in Florida. Air travel has become progressively more annoying over the last nine years, and like everyone else, I just put up with it. It’s my opinion there is no way any of this nonsense makes any of us safer, either. Gosh, remember when terrorists had to go to the trouble of taking flight lessons in order to use airplanes like missiles to destroy buildings and kill innocent people? Now, they have only to get a job at the TSA! Once they get the job, they are exempt from security scans and can bring anything they like on the plane.
Back to my upcoming flight – here’s what really pushed me over the edge. I like to wear dresses and skirts. When I travel for business, I wear a suit with a narrow skirt. Even when I go casual, I’ve gotten into the habit of wearing a cotton dress and bare legs, so I can wear flip flops that are comfortable and easy to remove for those security checks. Looks like those days are over. New TSA policies have gone into effect and skirts are now considered “bulky” attire and will often trigger a mandatory so called ‘enhanced’ pat-down.
Go ahead and google “TSA, skirt” to get an idea of what happens next. (I’ll wait.) Did you know that a TSA agent can lift my skirt, or even insist that I remove it, in order to be able to frisk me over, in front of, and between my thighs? I am serious. What amounts to a sexual assault also includes open handed touching of my buttocks as well as my breasts! If you’re a man, the TSA agent can ‘handle’ your genitals in a similar degrading manner. It is criminal for a policeman to do any of these things, but according to our government, it’s perfectly all right for a TSA thug to grope me in an airport.
What is your recourse? Um, you don’t have any. You can decide not to fly. (As if buying an airline ticket is justification for stripping us (literally) of our constitutional rights!) Believe me, after this trip, I will not be flying anywhere unless these ridiculous procedures are ended.
What are we, sheep? When does this stop?
And those body scanners – yes, the ones that are funneling millions of dollars into Michael Chertoff’s bank account – how about those? If you don’t already know, Chertoff is a former Secretary of United States Homeland Security under former President Bush, and he did a great job selling our government on these machines. Gee, I wonder if he did that so that he could make lots and lots of money? Ya think? Follow the money!
Not only are the scanners the equivalent of a strip search, we have been lied to about their capability of storing and sending those images after they are captured as well as about the amount of harmful radiation they emit. Oh, I am just supposed to trust the TSA about them? Yes, ma’am, just do as you are told, spread your legs and put your hands up.
So what can we do? Please contact your elected representatives – it’s very easy to do online. Google “Contact my Senator, Congressman, Representative” and you will be directed to a page which will ask you for your geographic info and a form will self populate for you. Tell the people whose salaries we pay that we will not tolerate this. Ask them to support Ron Paul’s American Traveler Dignity Act, HR 6416. While I have never been a supporter of Ron Paul, I applaud him for the stand he has taken on this issue.
He has stated that the American people have become too submissive. These procedures are absurd and need to be stopped. None of us would allow anyone else to subject us to this treatment, so why would we allow government employees to do so? We are not being made safer by any of this – that is a LIE. We are doing the wrong thing. Groping people at airports does not solve any problems. Putting a lock on the cockpit door and giving pilots a gun is a smart move. But accepting the notion that we should all be treated like cattle in the name of feeling “safer” is a mistake.
I know it’s been oft repeated, especially lately, but Ben Franklin sure said a mouthful:
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Change is wrenching, isn’t it?
One of my all time favorite American novelists, F. Scott Fitzgerald opined: “There are no second acts in American lives.” I have to respectfully disagree. I’ve been through at least three acts so far, and I think I can still shake out at least one more.
Becoming a parent definitely splits your life into ‘before’ and ‘after’ acts. If you go through a major career change, or even totally re-invent yourself, I’d say that counts for an act as well. The most difficult part of making big changes in one’s life, it seems to me, is getting beyond that moment after you look, but before you actually leap. How do you know if you’re ready or not?
When I was a child, my Dad gave me his blueprint for making any kind of decision. He favored the time honored method of making a list of pros and cons, and then evaluating the list in order to make the best possible choice. Good as far as it goes, I suppose. But what about that emotional ‘X-factor’ — that feeling of creeping doubt that seems to freeze you in place at the precise moment you need to take some decisive action to put your plan into play? I’ve actually come to think of this moment as a kind of ‘psychic threshold.’ Either you stay where you are, on your side of the door, or you throw it open and leap into the darkness. This requires great faith — in yourself , in your abilities and in your assessment of the challenges that await you.
At this juncture, is it a good idea to consider the implications of possible failure? Perhaps not. Or better yet, what if you didn’t classify unwished-for results as failure? What if you decided that whatever happened, the result meant you’d acquired knowledge?
This summer, I’m in the process of readying myself for change. I’m writing myself another ‘act’ and trying to see around every corner, which of course, I can’t. I’ll have to remember that no matter how it goes, I’m going to learn a few new things, and in the end, that’s how we grow, right?
Leaping into the darkness yet again — frightening, yes. But always exhilarating!