HANDS OFF MY JUNK!

Suddenly, some Americans are very angry. Some of the same people who didn’t make a peep when we went to war in Iraq under false (or wrong) pretenses, who stayed quiet when the Administration and FEMA sat on their hands as the floodwaters inundated New Orleans during Katrina, who didn’t say anything when treason was swept under the carpet in the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson affair, who remained silent as foreign nationals were imprisoned and tortured without evidence or charge by the US and her allies, who did not protest when the definition of the word “torture” was rewritten for the convenience of politicians, who said nothing through the warrantless wiretaps and email scans, who did not protest when George W. Bush called the Constitution “just a piece of paper”… these people are finally outraged and have declared that they “will not take it anymore.”

What is the reason for their anger? New airline security regulations in the US that require scanners that can see through people’s clothes just went into effect. So when you stand in front of the scanner, some underpaid TSA guy or gal will see an outline of your penis.

I don’t believe that most of what we (the US) did in response to the terrorist attacks on 9-11 made us safer — but I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I hear how much fuss some people are making about this. I don’t believe that having a TSA employee look at the outline of my naked body will really make my flight any safer… but, in the scheme of things, I don’t understand why the new scanners outrage some folks when everything else that has come before it (that represents real abuse) has gone unmentioned. If I go to a gym and take a shower, strangers can see my penis. What is the big deal?

I believe that this is manufactured outrage that has more to do with wanting to embarass the current administration than anything else. I come to that conclusion because the TSA was created and it’s mission defined under the previous administration. It is all just political theatre and the outrage is all about 9 years too late.


5 Comments on “HANDS OFF MY JUNK!”

  1. Perhaps, but there could also be a more selfish explanation.

    Virtually all of what you mentioned (illegal renditions, torture, etc.) are theoretical wrongs. They don't affect the average American in a direct, tangible way. It's physiologically easy for many people to say “oh, that's just for *them*; they probably deserve it”.

    Getting an invasive search at the airport, however, directly “touches” many more people.

    It is perhaps a sad statement on Americans, but I think it has less to do with politics and more to do with “What? Inconvenience *me* personally! How dare you!?!?”

  2. And to be clear, I am not trying to say that those bad things are “theoretical wrongs” in the sense that they may, or may not be, wrong.

    I only mean that a lot of people don't think about them, or think of them as wrong, since they cannot imagine themselves ever being the target of it.

  3. limpey says:

    I find the “sexualization” of the new TSA procedure by members of the media to be disingenous and irresponsible (one editorial in the WSJ implied without citing any evidence that TSA employees would be asking for multiple scans of young passengers in order to fulfill some sort of pedophilia urge — which I think probably says more about the mind of the editorial writer in that case). Unfortunately or not, what goes through a TSA employee's mind as he or she looks at the outline of my nude form on a scanner screen is irrelevant — we can't be sure the TSA employee is some sort of voyeur and pervert, nor can we prove it.
    I think the new procedures are “chump change” compared to what has already been done, and, in the grand scheme of things, they are probably just as pointless as the sign at the security checkpoint that tells me the “Terror Alert Level” is orange or yellow today (during a delay in line, I asked a TSA employee about the color alert system and she said, “It never goes below yellow.”). And I blame both the Demicans and the Republicrats for the current state of affairs but believe that much of the manufactured outrage in the media over the 'indignity' of the “nude-o-scanner” is political theater from the emboldened rightwing pundocracy intended to cloud the air so we can't (or won't) discuss more pressing matters (like Healthcare, the economy, job creation, etc.).
    I don't know how to measure how other Americans think — but find it interesting that despite all the 'sturm und drang' in the media leading up to 'opt out day' before Thanksgiving, very few people actually did opt out. It makes me suspect that when it comes to getting home to visit family, proving a point to the TSA becomes less important to people.
    I think the outrage over the newly invasive TSA procedures is part of the political theater of fear, but just a few years ago we were supposed to be afraid of terrorists — now we are supposed to be afraid of “big government.” Maybe I'm conspiracy minded, but the fact that this change in focus comes just as some members of the House and Senate have declared that this will be the year that they dismantle “Obamacare” seems a bit too cozy to me. The plan to upgrade security procedures predates the President's health care bill, yet suddenly the cry of “Big Guvmint is out to get you!” is ringing out from all corners (the health care bill is one of the few things that has happened in Washington in the past 12 years that I am happy about). Tell gullible people that some TSA employee is going to get his jollies ogling their teenage daughter and those gullible people will let you take away any hope of their daughter eventually avoiding the debt-slavery that healthcare in the US has become for the lower and middle class.

  4. @ Limpey –

    Fear sells.

    And it seems that people would rather deaden themselves in front of the TV or 'net instead of educating themselves, so it's just going to get worse (I'm of the opinion that ignorance and fear always travel hand-in-hand).

  5. Harald says:

    “It is a sad fact of American political life that it is little more than a football game.”

    Viewing this from the outside makes me scared. What makes me even more scared is that we're tied to the US, and you've got some serious problems over there: national debt, poverty, crime, civil rights, etc. I sincerely hope that you'll manage to get your country back on course again.

    As it is, quoting 1884 has almost become a cliché, but why not:
    WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH


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