Making fun of the TSA is shooting exceptionally stupid fish in an unusually small barrel. Yet here we are. It’s 2015 and rent a cops with a 95% failure rate fondle my junk at great expense while I’m en route to Disneyland. Why? Because Saudis hijacked planes 14 years ago? Let’s dispense with the pretzel logic that tries to connect those dots and move on. I have a point and I’ll get to it shortly.
A few weeks ago the Senate debated whether it should or should not continue shoving the NSA’s nose up your smartphone’s ass. Let’s cut the shit and collectively admit that nobody with a pulse believes the NSA will stop monitoring phones regardless of what’s theoretically authorized. Nobody sold the Patriot Act (pushed, I might add by a panicked Republican) based on tapping my domestic, internal, local, phone call to my wife. (I’m pretty sure I’d have remembered.)
At the time (as I fumed about the pending legislation) I found more allies among the lefty crowd (they seem to grok civil liberties but only when they’re not in power). Normally lefties consider me something like a weird but harmless bug that’s interesting but best kept out of the house. Strange bedfellows no? Neocons were ready sign anything if it meant we’d pop a cap in some Afghanistan Terrorists’ ass. They brushed off my warning that “someday your worst enemy will have these powers”. Which is ironic because the left has indeed been in power several years now and the right has spent nearly a decade whining about how the Constitution has been
flushed ignored. Raise your hand if you didn’t see it coming.
So what to do? Suppose I could go back to 2001 and say “in the future the Secretary of State will run a secret communcations presence, pretty much everyone in the Middle East will be busy killing each other, and the IRS audits enemies, but America mostly frets about old guys on Wheaties boxes and gay cakes”. If you believed me and accepted this strange data, for which party would you vote?
Neither party likes my theology of “don’t create the ring of power in the first place”. Regardless of what is “authorized” or who is in power, asshattery like wiretapping and TSA’s security theater will continue. This is because we give the jerks a budget and more importantly we’re acting like wimps. Forget politics. Beyond Rand Paul, who is doomed, neither party has a shining record. Politics does not care about you, your privacy, or that which emanates from it… your dignity.
So what does a free man do? Here’s where I become a ray of friggin sunshine. Act like it. Become free within! Quit shoehorning yourself into the role of a subject and stand on your own hind legs like a citizen. Duh!
You should have done it long ago. Why didn’t you? Being free at heart is simply exercising the soul… get your internal lard ass off the spiritual couch. (Special shout out to TUAK and others who are weightlifters in the freedom category. They know who they are.) Also, eat your vegetables, brush your teeth, turn off the TV, and read a friggin’ book. Sheesh do I have to explain everything?
America en mass either waits for their deliverance to come from without or fades slowly into infantilized wilful helplessness. Here’s a hint, Captain America isn’t going to ride in on his motorcycle and kick the NSA’s ass so I implore every deskbound spaz out there to suit up and buy their own motorcycle. Furthermore if you think you’ve got nothing to hide so you’ve got nothing to fear you’re already seriously weakened of mind and heart; go ahead and flop on the fainting couch with half of Europe.
As for the rest of us. Try this mental exercise. Picture this guy.
Now picture this guy going through his luggage.
You think the Duke would let the TSA mess with him? I say no. (For that matter neither would that overgrown boyscout, James Stewart.) They would tell the TSA to take a hike not because they were terrorists but because they were free men.
Am I suggesting you’ve to swagger around like a cowboy? Not really. (Though that would be awesome.) Instead I’m barking that none of us should go quietly into that dark night. Whether it’s a bully in the local zoning board, some dweeb in the NSA, or the damn president, if you are an American it’s time to exercise your right and obligation to be obstreperous. It takes practice to be a pain in the ass. Don’t let those skills atrophy.
Why am I mentioning this today? Because I’m several thousand miles from home and yet I just plunked down cash to fuel my truck and roared past an airport that could have taken me home. All they got from me was the figurative one fingered salute of an obstreperous citizen who isn’t about to let the TSA noodle about in his crotch.
The road into the airport is clogged with shuttles and buses stuffed with hollow businessmen about to be groped… there’s no lack of TSA’s hamsters. But not me. I used to fly often. Now I don’t. How did this happen? Rewind a few years into the past. I was standing in a line at an airport. Hundreds of people, young and old, big and little, smart and dumb, lined up in perfect obeisance. Kids handed over teddy bears, women let men rifle through their purses, men slipped off belts and fretted over pocket knives. It was all smooth and orderly.
Waiting in line I fumed. When it came to the big Orwellian pervo-scan I opted out and it didn’t even cause a hicckup in the system. They sighed and did a very professional search. It was all quiet and orderly. Nobody caused a fuss. Nobody made a scene. Everyone was quiet and avoided eye contact with their blue gloved inquisitors. Americans had been trained.
I decided then and there that I was done. I was not going to continue marching in perfect harmony through the perv-scan, past the luggage scrutinizer, and straight onto the aerial cattle car du jour. Sometimes a man needs to look at a situation and say “Fuck it… I’m out”.
I could have flown today. It would have been (modestly) faster. I refused. My alternative wasn’t without effort. The trip took a little longer. My ass is sore from the dually’s suspension. I had to eat at McDonalds and stay in a shoddy hotel. But was it terribly difficult? Nope. It was pretty easy. Plus there are other benefits; the scenery was nice, I got to meet some interesting people, I had time to think.
More to the point, I made a choice and deliberately dodged a certain amount of bureaucratic bullshit simply because you don’t screw with the Duke’s saddlebags. I have nothing to hide but a man and his truck is freer than a subject strapped in a tiny seat begging for a bag of peanuts.
It’s worth it.