By Chris Slavens: Democrats’ favorite strategy is to blame George W. Bush for everything from high unemployment to Hurricane Katrina, so it should come as no surprise that some on the left are attempting to pin the abuses of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on the former president, despite the fact that the Obama administration—with the exception of Hillary Clinton, who has political reasons to distance herself from her boss—is fully supportive of pat-down procedures that would, as one protesting passenger correctly noted, constitute sexual assault if performed by anyone other than government employees.
Strangely, however, a majority of liberals (at least those in the media) have chosen not to assign blame at all, and are instead diligently pretending that groping innocent citizens is the niftiest thing since solar panels, patiently reminding the unwashed masses that it’s perfectly acceptable to trade liberty for security.
The TSA was created during Bush’s presidency, two months after the tragic 9/11 attacks, but it was Democrats who insisted that airport security be handled by federal employees, rather than private firms. And, of course, the screening procedures in question were implemented a few weeks ago with the approval of a federal government controlled entirely by Democrats. Republicans have committed their fair share of screw-ups, but can’t be blamed for this one.
Unfortunately, the media has focused on a handful of bizarre mishaps (like the rupturing of a Michigan bladder cancer survivor’s urostomy bag during a pat-down), which distracts from the fact that the procedures themselves are outrageous even when performed properly. Forcing “free” individuals to expose themselves to potentially harmful radiation, or submit to full-body pat-downs which include the feeling of genitalia, is simply unacceptable. Such unreasonable actions justify civil disobedience.
Some lawmakers are listening to passengers’ concerns, like Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who introduced the American Traveler Dignity Act. It would revoke TSA screeners’ legal immunity, requiring them to obey the same sexual harassment laws that apply to the general public. Perhaps the new Republican majority in the House, which has reason to fear the withdrawal of Tea Party support if it does not govern as promised, will be more open to Paul’s proposals than past Republican majorities.
Everyone seems to have a different idea of what to do about the TSA. The left, because of its politically-motivated refusal to acknowledge any problems on Obama’s watch, pretends that there is no problem, and some of the faux conservatives on the center-right—the same who supported the unconstitutional Patriot Act several years ago—echo this view. Some argue that profiling (used successfully by the Israelis) is the way to go, which has sent liberal race-baiters into an arms-flailing tizzy. Others think that the x-ray scanners are just fine, and only the invasive pat-downs should be done away with. Or the reverse.
Regardless of the eventual outcome of the debate, an important first step must be taken before new procedures are established: The abolition of the TSA.
The agency was created nine years ago by an act of Congress, and now that it has proven itself to be incapable of providing security while respecting constitutional rights, it can be dismantled just as easily by another act of Congress. Acknowledge the mistake, issue an apology, and move forward. That is how good government works.
But it’s not how the current administration works. By continuing to subsidize security theater, and dismissing the valid complaints of concerned citizens, the Democrats in power are setting themselves up for a disaster in the next election. Did they learn nothing this year?
Chris Slavens is a conservative columnist. He writes from Delaware.
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