The news has been filled with outrage by flyers about the groping and fondling that Janet “the perv” Napolitano has authorized. There is widespread unhappiness from this, especially those who have actually gone through the process. Travel writer Steven Frischling asked 20 TSA officers what they thought of the new pat downs. All but three responded and all of them hated it. Frischling said he was “that all 17 mentioned their morale being broken down.
One said: “When a woman refuses the scanner then comes to me and tells me that she feels like I am molesting her, that is beyond verbal abuse.” Really? Why is she surprised when she just felt up the woman’s vagina that this victim of TSA policy felt molested?
What has these TSA officials upset is that people don’t like them touching their genitals.
What is astounding to me, however, is what it is that bothers these people. One whined, “There is a big difference between how I pat passengers down and a molester molesting people.” Not really. If any member of the public did the exact same procedure to another non-consenting individual they would be arrested for sexual assault. The ONLY difference is that the TSA has government permission. Yes, molesters may do more than what the TSA does, but many DO NOT. There are people in jail today because they lightly rubbed the genitals of another person without permission. That is actually LESS intrusive than what the TSA does.
One TSA officer said he is hurt by the “comments being lobbed at me” and complains, “I am a person who has feelings.” I bet you do. So do the individuals who you are fondling. This is so incredibly narcissistic that it is hard to fathom. This TSA molester appeals to how his feelings are being hurt and doesn’t seem to understand the feelings of any of the people he is fondling. All that matters are his feelings. Well, guess what, those people being molested have feelings as well. And these searches demean them and make them feel powerless and destroy their sense of personal privacy. They say “hateful” things because they have just been insulted or hurt, some of them hurt very deeply. So, to any TSA official who might happen to read this: Get over it. People will hate you because you are doing hateful things. If you really expect us to love you after you felt us up then you are delusional.
One TSA official said that comments overheard at the airport “in my presence as I patted passengers down” were “painful and demoralizing” and says she doesn’t “know how much longer I can withstand this taunting. I go home and I cry.” Okay. There is a simple solution to this, stop fondling the genitals of unwilling people. This isn’t rocket science. This person is touching people in a way that most people find very uncomfortable outside sexual activity. They find it especially upsetting when a stranger, against their will, is doing it. And TSA officials can’t seem to understand why it is that people are saying “painful” things. Well, it isn’t hard to explain. You just ran your fingers along the woman’s vagina and between her buttocks, and under her breasts. That’s why!
People say they were molested for one reason: they were! That it was molestation with state permission doesn’t mean it isn’t molestation. It is precisely the same thing except you get a “Get Out of Jail” card from the politicians every time you do it.
What is particularly depressing me is how clueless these genital inspectors are. They repeatedly appeal to the idea that they are patriots, serving their country, or just doing their job.
The one who goes home and cries says: “I am serving my country, I should not have to go home and cry after a day of honorably serving my country.” Apparently any act is justified if a government orders you to do it. Sorry lady, but there is no “honorable” way to fondle people’s genitals when they don’t want it.
Another said: “It is not up to me to decide policy, it is up to me to carry out my duties as dictated (my comment: an appropriate word) by the Transportation Security Administration.” No, and when an employer asks you to do something that is repulsive and disgusting and violates the personhood of other people you have the obligation to quit that job. He may not decide policy but every day he chooses to carry it out, no matter how offensive it is to the people he victimizes with government permission. As long as he chooses to perform those tasks then he is fully responsible for them. This “I was following orders” excuse hasn’t been accepted since the Nuremburg trials.
One of the TSA officials actually brought up the Nazi comparison. I want to quote his entire remark and dissect it.
“Do people know what a Nazi is? One can’t describe me as a Nazi because I am following a security procedure of designed to find prohibited items on a passenger’s body. A Nazi is someone with hatred and ignorance in their hearts, a person who carried out actions of execution and extermination of those based on their religion, origins or sexual preferences. I work to make travel safer, even if I do not agree with the current security procedures. Further more, I am Jewish and a TSA Transportation Security Officer, an American Patriot and to call me a Nazi is an offense beyond all other offenses.”
Wow! How badly informed and illogical he is. First, he says he can’t be described as a Nazi just because he was following orders issued outlining the procedure he must follow. Yes, one can, if those orders or procedures violate the personhood of others then one can say precisely that. In this case that is what he was doing. And the following orders excuse is exactly one used by Nazi officials.
Next he claims the Nazis were individuals “with hatred and ignorance in their hearts.” Yes and no. Many Nazis were not particularly inspired by hatred, they saw themselves as patriots who were protecting their country on orders from their government. Many of them were inspired by love for the homeland, not hate. Many felt threatened by an evil force that they didn’t understand and thought they were protecting their homeland. They honestly thought they were involved in homeland security. Yes, there were hateful Nazis, and no shortage of them either. But the Gestapo and various police and military agencies were filled with individuals driven by motives NO DIFFERENT than those used by TSA officials today to justify their behavior.
This idea that one must be driven by hate to be a Nazi is one reason that Nazism itself was able to grab power. If the Nazis were simply seen as hateful, ignorant killers they never would have been elected to the Reichstag in large numbers to take power. The reason they did succeed was because enough good people saw them as homeland security against a menace. Enough good people supported the Nazis because they felt they had good intentions. Fascism dominates when good people have honorable excuses for it. So, the mere fact that this TSA agent thinks his motives are as pure as the new fallen snow does nothing to lessen the legitimacy of the insult.
He then describes Nazis as individuals who carried out “execution and extermination of those based on their religion, origins or sexual preferences.” That is both true and false. It is true that many Nazis did just that. It is also true that many Nazis NEVER killed anyone. In fact, the evidence, based on Nazi party membership, is that most people who were members of the National Socialist Party never harmed another person. Some of the most loyal Nazis were people in low-level positions who simply carried out the orders issued to them by a government that was out of control. Some never did anything more than push paper around in a bureaucratic maze.
Many card carrying Nazis did nothing at all to infringe on the personhood of another human being. That means that the average TSA official, sticking his hands between the buttocks of others, or feeling around their genitals, actually does more to infringe the dignity of other people than many low level Nazis did during the entire Third Reich. True, there were many Nazis who were much, much worse in what they did. But there were also millions of Nazis who did less than a TSA groper and molester does in a single day.
That some Nazis were so horrendously worse is not a justification especially since so many Nazis were also more innocent of violating others than this TSA official. That TSA agents are not as bad as genocidal Nazis is really setting the bar pretty low.
I really wish people would understand how good and normal Nazism can look to people. That is how it gained power, not through the excesses and extermination, which mostly took place AFTER the National Socialists were in control. When millions of supporters of Hitler said they “never knew” what was going on, the fact is they often didn’t know what was going on. They honestly thought they were patriots inspired by the best of motives. That is what makes such authoritarian regimes possible. In other words, the very attitudes of this TSA official underpin fascist tendencies.
I also find it odd that he singles out the Nazis for doing bad things to people “based on their religion, origins or sexual preference.” Yes, those are bad things. But would it have been better if the Nazis were more equally oppressive? The reality is that the Nazis, while they scapegoat specific groups were oppressive across the board. Plenty of German, heterosexual Gentiles were beaten, arrested, imprisoned or killed by Nazi thugs. Equal opportunity oppression is not an improvement.
This agent also says that since he is Jewish he can’t be compared to a Nazi. Sorry to break the news to him, but he can. Hard as it is to believe, there were Nazis who were Jewish or married to Jews. There were Jewish groups that actually endorsed the Nazi party. (See The Third Reich and the Palestine Question by Francis Nicosia.) It wasn’t that long ago that it turned out that the head of the Nazi group in Chicago, Frank Collins, was actually of Jewish descent, and the family name was originally Cohen. Collins was the head of the Nazi group that fought for the right to march through the heavily Jewish area of Skokie, Illinois.
The University Press of Kansas published a book entitled Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers which showed that as many as 150,000 German soldiers were Jewish and fought on behalf of Hitler, “including decorated veterans and high-ranking officers, even generals and admirals.” The author, Bryan Rigg, is a professor of history and former volunteer in the Israeli Army.
There is no excuse for TSA officials to do what they are doing. Following orders is no excuse.
There are very few groups of people who can stop the juggernaut of Big Government when it starts steamrolling over the rights of people. In this case, TSA agents are a group that could halt this practice almost instantly, if they wanted. They all told Frischling they opposed the policy. If just a substantial minority of agents went on strike, or resigned, the TSA would be forced to reconsider. Those of us who are boycotting flying, myself included, because of these policies will have little impact, unless we force the airlines to start opposing the government policy. Upset voters will be ignored; boycotters will be ignored. The Obama administration is used to ignoring the general public.
But these policies can’t be implemented unless there are agents willing to implement them. Janet Napolitano is going to dirty her hands doing it. Obama and Biden won’t run down to the airport and start fondling flyers; even Bill Clinton didn’t go that far.
Without willing TSA agents manning the stations at the airport these policies are dead on arrival. I cannot think of another group that could so quickly end the policy of “enhanced pat down” than TSA agents. If 25% of them called in sick in protest Napolitano would be seriously considering her options. No doubt she would fight like hell to save face and keep the policy, but she can’t do it without the TSA frontline agents cooperating.
So, when these agents say they can’t be blamed for the policy, the reality is just the opposite. They and they alone are the reason this policy exists.
Given that reality then the “hurtful” remarks people make may be a good thing, not a bad thing. If these TSA agents, instead of whining and crying at home, simply went out and got decent jobs, the rapid turnover would send a clear message to the government. If the bulk of TSA agents “just said no” then Napolitano and crew would have to back down.
Janet can issues all the orders and directives she wants. They are just pieces of paper until willing individuals put them into effect. And those willing individuals bear the responsibility for that.
Labels: morality, Transportation Security Administration