|Lesbo TSA fantasy time. Reuters photo.|
You can even buy a tee shirt to let the TSA know how you feel about it.
Now, I don't mean to be unfeeling. I heard the interview with the man who was publicly drenched in his own urine during a clumsy search. I have read about the flight attendant whose prosthetic breast was examined to see if it contained plastic explosives. I saw the shivering child, whose shirt was removed by his father when he set off the alarm, having his tiny elastic waistband inspected by a TSA employee. I sympathize with the fears of transpeople that they will be publicly exposed in hostile environments. It seems likely that people who harbor objects on their bodies made of silicone, rubber and plastic -- people who are vulnerable anyway -- will be targeted in ways that may make difficult lives more difficult.
There's something for everyone to hate here, particularly those of us who feel we get enough radiation year after year at the dentist and by just living in a thoroughly irradiated world that is saturated with the residue of nuclear testing.
But has anyone but me noticed the high degree of homophobia in the air, as people on the right and the left describe what is terrible about body searches that virtually no one has to go through if they would just agree to walk through the scanners and allow a complete stranger to look at the outlines of their naked body for seven seconds? Few critics see this as an official erosion of privacy, a concern voiced by the ACLU. Americans to the end, it is sex everyone is concerned about. A man on the news a couple nights ago described his increasing discomfort as a male TSA official slid a hand up his thigh with a thumb fully extended towards his anus. Jane Hamsher, of the progressive Firedoglake (who has dubbed the full-body visual screening devices "the porno scanners") described the enhanced pat-down in a horrified post earlier today: 200 Capitol Hill staffers watched as a female TSA worker stroked another TSA workers breasts and butt. Afterwards, an onlooker said that "it made people so uncomfortable to watch, that people were averting their eyes."
Why pull your punches, Jane? What's bothering most people is that they are forced to be "gay" for the minute or so it takes to complete the security procedure. In a rant where he orders the state to "Get your hands off my teabag," Rush Limbaugh reveals to us that the federal government, under the Obama administration, has become gay. "Obama-led government agents are acting like perverts in some places....and make no mistake, it is the government fondling us." Obama could say "the fondling stops here. All Obama would have to do is call a little press conference, a little speech. All he would have to say is the fondling stops here....We have the Miranda warning. Well, now we have the Obama warning. You have the right to remain silent while we fondle you. Anything you say while we fondle you can and will be used against you."
See what I mean? What is interesting to me is that this appears to be an entirely non-partisan issue: the federal government is being sexual with everyone, and it makes it even worse that it is same gender! Imagine the outcry if the TSA hired children to do enhanced body searches of children. How pornographic would that be?
Go here to read the myths and facts on the TSA blog ("OMG! They aren't just gay, they blog too?!?") But in the meantime, here are five things I like less than the idea being patted down by a hot young TSA employee and having her wonder whether I was born into the world with that "junk" or not:
- Being blown up in-flight;
- Having my Middle Eastern, South Asian and black friends being racially profiled;
- Being blown up on the runway;
- Being taken hostage and flown into a building;
- Being morally responsible for the estimated 500 civilians in Pakistan who have been killed in unmanned drone strikes by the Obama administration. For every two terrorists that are killed, one civilian is killed, which is a lot higher number than the estimated 3% of American travelers who are body searched in airports on any given day. In addition, it should be noted that most people survive a body search, whereas surviving a drone strike is a tougher proposition.
As travelers flounder about in their homophobic panic and American narcissism, has it occurred to them that we have brought this foolishness on ourselves by fighting a prolonged war that has produced an escalated counterinsurgency, metastasizing Al-Qaeda to more countries than it ever had bases in prior to the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq?
I doubt it.