Thursday, July 21, 2005


So I'm watching the NBC Nightly News last night. Actually, I wasn't really watching--sort of listening with one ear, while I scraped old paint off of cupboard fronts. I couldn't help but overhear several minutes of discussion about four members of a women's lacrosse team who wore flip flops to the White House. Apparently, this act was sufficiently scandalous that it ignited controversy sufficient to overshadow any other issues of the day, because it got a lot of coverage.

Essentially, it seems the current White House prefers a higher level of decorum

A bit later, still scraping, I hear on the local news about a big friggin' tunnel dug under the Canadian border. "Oh great," I think, "We have to take our shoes off in line at the airport--which I'm supposed to believe makes me safer--and meanwhile, someone's run a private underground superhighway from BC to Washington state."

I would have been fine, if I'd stopped thinking right there.

Instead, though, it occurs to me that if taking our shoes off in the security line at the airport isn't really about Homeland Security (booga, booga) then what the hell is it about?

Then I start thinking about what it was like to stand in that line for almost an hour. True, I don't take my shoes off--nor do my fellow travelers--until we reach the metal detectors and conveyer belts. At that point, though, there's this enormous mob of unhappy, stressed people handing over their shoes and belts to total strangers: Strangers in uniforms, unsmiling, officious, and abrupt.

That sets off a chain of images in my mind.

I think we need to be damned careful what we let ourselves become accustomed to. We're being conditioned to accept being treated like cattle--all in the name of security and freedom.


Anonymous said...

they wore flip-flops because that's what you-know-who is... a flip-flop... :) one minute there's wmds... the next it's about democracy...

Anonymous said...

Mac - re: 'getting used to it' - I say, "Mooove over civil rights." Isn't that what Sheeple say?

I flew recently with my little boy. They checked my shoes but they didn't check his. DUH. If I'm fixin' to blow up a plane that we're both on - obviously we're both going to die - what difference would it make - my shoes, his shoes? No difference. I can't be the only person who caught that.....Big Time DUH.

Anonymous said...

I found the TSA folks in Dallas to be very friendly, the lady who wand-ed me was chatty and polite. She tried to make an awkward situation a bit more comfortable for me and I appreciated that.

The whole reason I was pulled aside and wanded in Dallas was shoes, btw. And then the wand picked up on the metal in my bra and I had to get a 'pat down' too. Their devices were more sensitive than the ones in San Jose and Raliegh, NC. I decided next time I have to connect through Dallas I'll either not go out for a smoke or I'll go thru braless and shoeless. It'll be my luck that fits some profile and they'll strip search me.

Mac said...

Mostly, I object to the absurdity. It's like airport security is a sort of make-work project for all of us--designed to make it seem as if we're more secure.

In fact, I'd think one could walk right through the line with about a gazillion pounds of plastique in one's pockets, rigged detonate at a signal from a cell-phone remote. You'd drop your cell phone in the little box with your keys and change, have any other metal components in your carry-on to assemble later, and walk right through, pretty much.

But since we all have to stand in long lines for two or three times longer than we used to, we take our shoes off, we submit to someone patting us down--we're supposed to buy that we're safer.

Unknown said...

Sure..even when i flew with my girl only my shoes were checked..not my kids..i dunno the differnce will it make them..