Reluctant Air Traveler
I have grown to accept the fact that I must look like a terrorist. Twice now I have been singled out for pat-downs by airport security, and both times I was left feeling humiliated and violated - and mighty pissed off!
Part of the problem is that I never know what to expect when I arrive at the airport. I can show up in a good mood, and moments later my trip is soured by an anal-retentive security person. Regulations vary from airport to airport, as does the professionalism and demeanor of the security personnel who run the scanners, inspect the carry-on baggage, and do the groping. Getting on a plane has become a very demeaning process.
But Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL) is out to change all of that, at least for celebrities. Rogers, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Transportation Subcommittee, has been holding hearings regarding citizen anger toward the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and has come up with a way that the bedeviled agency can improve its image: leave celebrities the hell alone.
Representative Rogers said, "There are certain people that are just so well-known, you've got to use your common sense." He then went on to cite former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield as examples. But not being content to stop with those two old war criminals, the congressman added Beyonce to his argument. He lamented, "I mean she (Beyonce) is not going to blow a plane up."
Neither am I, Mikey, neither am I! And if I have to stand passively while being felt up by a minimum-wage employee sporting a badge, then Kissinger and Rummy should too. We need to be concentrating on eliminating the gulf between the haves and the have-nots, rather than increasing it.
Of course, assisting the have-nots has never really been a Republican priority.
But there are other modes of transportation available, and people are beginning to notice. Brandon Macsata, the executive director of the Association for Airline Passenger Rights is doing what he can to encourage people to look at other transportation options; Mr. Macsata stated:
"I find myself flying less because I don't want to deal with TSA. Passengers don't have a lot of confidence in TSA. Their track record hasn't been positive, and they've been dismissive of our concerns."It's time to give Greyhound and Amtrak a second look, and to start really pushing for high-speed rail. When those big planes start flying empty, the angry consumers will have been heard. Republican congressmen may not understand or care about the concerns of the poor, but they do understand the reliance that their corporate masters have on consumer spending.
We are all Beyonce - and we all deserve to be treated with the same deference and respect that she receives.