By Bob Cesca: There’s a YouTube video circulating throughout the right-wing blogosphere showing an older woman sobbing out loud while an airport TSA security official pats down her legs. The woman is clearly very upset by the indignity she’s suffering in the name of simply getting on airplane — a process already packed with an increasing list of indignities.
And you know what? I don’t blame her for being upset. The security situation at airports is far beyond reasonable and, in most cases, is a clear Fourth Amendment violation. But of course conservatives like Gateway Pundit are shockingly amnesic for suggesting that President Obama is exclusively to blame for this.
The title of the YouTube video, “Sobbing Woman Suffers Obama TSA Patdown” is pure intellectual violence and stunningly ignorant times a thousand. And the Gateway Pundit item, too-cleverly trying to turn the “war on women” line against Democrats, is textbook “I know you are but what am I” conservative childishness.
For eight years, the fear of death was drilled into our heads by post-9/11 Republican fear-mongers. Throughout the duration of the Bush years, anyone who opposed heightened security measures and unconstitutional trespasses were shouted down as being “terrorist sympathizers” who are undermining American security and endangering the troops, while evildoers were lurking under our beds like jittery suicide-toe-monsters ready to spring forth and crash airplanes into our feet.
In those years, “patriotism” was defined by the speed and vigor by which we gave up our civil liberties in lieu of a lot of extra security. You might recall how, for example, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, in a pathetic display of both childish pants-peeing and authoritarian manipulation, totally fell apart during a speech — publicly sobbing over the opposition to President Bush’s demand for illegal wiretaps, explaining how another September 11 was inevitable unless the government was allowed to eavesdrop on American citizens.
Furthermore, I don’t recall any Democrats, least of all President Obama, who said anything resembling this:
“You have no civil liberties if you are dead.” —Senator Pat Roberts, R-KS
“None of your civil liberties matter much after you’re dead.” —Senator “Big John” Cornyn, R-TX
“Our civil liberties are worthless if we are dead! If you are dead and pushing up daisies, if you’re sucking dirt inside a casket, do you know what your civil liberties are worth? Zilch, zero, nada.” –Rush Limbaugh
Put another way: take the pat-down like a man, you sniveling old lady, your constitutional rights are irrelevant if you’re dead.
All of these airport security policies, especially the naked body scanners, were invented by Republicans in an atmosphere of manufactured fear during conservative control of, well, everything. In fact, Janet Napolitano’s predecessor, Bush administration Homeland Security Secretary Michael “Shirt Off” Chertoff runs a security consulting firm whose clients include the manufacturers of the naked body scanner machines.
Consequently, most Americans are still trapped inside a nationwide panic room despite the reality of the so-called “terrorist threat.” Polls indicate 81 percent support for the body scanners, even though, contrary to the Bush Republican bed-wetting, there is no terrorist threat. It simply doesn’t exist as a serious danger to you or your family. Nate Silver, arguably one of the leading statisticians of our time, calculated that your odds of dying in an airborne terror attack are 1 in 10,408,947. Conversely, yours odds of dying from a fall off a ladder is 1 in 10,010, according to Foreign Policy magazine. Your odds of committing suicide are 1 in 121. Fact: you’re more of a threat to yourself than any terrorist.
So why do we submit to unconstitutional airport molestation? Mainly because the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were so horribly dramatic and shocking, airborne terrorism has taken on a greatly inflated level of crisis — in spite of the statistically impossible odds of it happening to you. Therefore, way too many Americans acquiesce to humiliating and unconstitutional gropings and pornographic photography in order to convey ourselves quickly from one point to another.
Yes, President Obama ought to put an end to this nonsense. And soon. Already, the administration has rolled back some of the more inane security policies at airports. Nevertheless, more steps should be taken to stop the madness beginning with those naked body scanners and certainly the intrusive pat-downs. Just because he hasn’t done it yet doesn’t mean he’s responsible for the policies themselves or the climate of fear in which they were invented.
If your junk is groped at an airport, thank a Republican.