16 February 2010
Choice and Not-Choice
So "Silent Bob" got kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight for not fitting properly into their seats--and he's not happy about it. I can understand: It must be embarrassing for him, although he is the one who is bringing so much attention to it.
Still, it should be pointed out that he does have choices. There are other airlines one could select if one chose to fly.
On the other hand, the absurd "security" protocols of the TSA are mandatory and beyond appeal for all who choose to fly, regardless of what airline or what airport. Pat-downs, "random" "enhanced screenings," virtual strip-searches, special punishments for people who dare to speak up, confiscation of toothpaste and hair gel, etc., are now all part of the daily American routine for suspected terrorists and law-abiding citizens alike. (Fourth Amendment? Oh, we long ago stopped paying attention to that.)
And do not--I repeat, do not--question anyone at any time about any aspect of the process. Questions are prima facie evidence of, well, of something, and they will all be punished. "This is America now," as one airport official told me once, who proceeded to threaten not to allow me on my flight if I kept asking questions. Just do as we say, head down, eyes lowered, in strict obedience and compliance, and maybe, just maybe, we'll leave you alone.
To me, the TSA's virtually unlimited discretion and the submissive obedience in which they are training Americans is far greater cause for worry about the future of our republic than Southwest's seat policies. They're not even in the same league.