A passenger recently arrived at his gate twenty minutes before his flight on United Airlines was due to depart. He found the door to the ramp already closed. So he did what many of us long to, what customers who aren’t aviation’s prisoners would do with impunity, and what formerly free Americans could once have done without fear of "detainment" or brouhaha: he tried to make his flight by opening the door.
The usual hysteria ensued. But rather than sympathizing with its victim, we can laugh ourselves sick because the guy snared this time is Sen. David Vitter (R-LA).
You might think Diaper Dave would have been so wretchedly shamed after the media exposed his dalliances with various prostitutes, let alone the rumors about his peculiar predilection, that he’d have slunk off the stage, pronto, never to be heard from again. Picture yourself in his place when little Tommy next door calls a sly "Hey, Mr. Vitter!" Your parents, your siblings, your staff, the constituent uppity enough to challenge you at the "town hall meeting," even the shoe-shine guy and the waiter who smirks as he hands you your menu in the Senate Dining Room — all know what you do and how you do it. Wouldn’t you either hole up on a desert island or kill yourself? But no: politicians will pay any price, however mortifying, to lord it over their betters, so the sleazebag pesters us to this day.
Contrast Vitter’s brazenness with the modesty of people whose torture he condones. Not only was Vitter "very disappointed in President Obama’s decision to close" Gitmo, he also natters for the neocons with talk of "extreme Islamic terrorism. The threat we face is determined to bring down our nation and will not rest until they [sic] have achieved this goal."
But had a Moslem man been caught in flagrante diaper, he’d at least have the sense to remove his sorry self from our notice. Indeed, "pro-war Washington conservatives" deem "the biggest weakness of Arabs" to be "shame and humiliation," as Seymour Hersh reported, so much so that the "posed photographs" from Abu Ghraib may have had "a serious goal": "It was thought that some prisoners would do anything — including spying on their associates — to avoid dissemination of the shameful photos to family and friends. [A] government consultant said, u2018I was told that the purpose of the photographs was to create an army of informants, people you could insert back in the population.’ The idea was that they would be motivated by fear of exposure, and gather information about pending insurgency action…" Just think if despicable Dave were an Islamofascist instead of a pious lector at St. Francis Xavier Church! We’d have heard nothing further of or from him as crushing, overwhelming shame sent him scurrying.
Fortunately, folks across the country are excoriating this vile hypocrite. Unfortunately, they condemn him not because he votes to fund the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and its warping of airports into prisons, not because he bullies folks fleeing poverty and persecution for a better life, not because he "strongly support[s]" the dictatorial Department of Homeland Security, but because he expected better treatment than the average serf receives. Reportedly, after Vitter opened the gateway’s door and an alarm rang, "the Louisiana senator proceeded to dress down an airline employee who told him entering the restricted area was forbidden. He invoked his standing as a senator, delivering a u2018do-you-know-who-I-am tirade, [Roll Call, u2018The Newspaper of Capitol Hill…'] said."
Naturally, Our Master disputes this account. He also took the occasion to remind us of just how lucky we are to have a hard-working, self-sacrificing sponge like him soaking up our taxes: "After being delayed on the Senate floor ensuring a vote on my anti-pay-raise amendment and in a rush to make my flight home for town hall meetings the next day, I accidentally went through a wrong door at the gate.” Yeah, right. Vitter admits to "hav[ing] a conversation with an airline employee, but it was certainly not like this silly gossip column [in Roll Call] made it out to be.”
It goes without saying that if any of us had "convers[ed] with an airline employee," we’d be in shackles and a cell right now. Numerous readers point this out on every website covering the story; apparently, rather than protesting and throwing off such tyranny, they’re content with it so long as Our Rulers occasionally groan under its lash, too.
Given Leviathan’s lust for surveillance, you might assume there’s an easy way to settle the dispute. But you forget the mendacity of the TSA, which controls said cameras. It has already threatened to “[review] the alleged incident." Wanna bet the footage supports a senator who votes on the TSA’s funding rather than a gossip columnist who only writes about it?
Still, it’s always entertaining to watch the State’s stooges battle it out. Will Roll Call stick by its story? Will the TSA come to Vitter’s rescue with doctored videotape, or will he hide behind his wife again as he tries to convince the electorate he’s just a regular guy confused by all those doors at the gateway? Will he stoop low enough to use his kids, too? Will the stress cause him to mess his britches? Could he legitimately wear a diaper in that case, or would it Depends?
Draw up a chair, grab some popcorn, and enjoy!
Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution.