Desperation is when once-proud and free Americans like me are reduced to pleading, “Save us, Jesse Ventura, you’re our only hope.”
It’s over three months now since the unelected political appointees heading the TSA made their sexually abusive Hobson’s choice mandatory for American airline customers: either step through a scanner whose potentially cancerous radiation lets TSA agents view your nude body, or adopt guilty-criminal, hands-in-the-air poses, while agents grope you head to toe, genitalia included.
Two months since Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano suggested expanding this to all forms of mass transit. Eight weeks since the House of Representatives voted 417 to 3 in favour of House Resolution 28, supporting exactly that TSA expansion. And mere days since Barack Obama joked about the patdowns in his state of the union address. (Easy for him to laugh, as one of the privileged few exempt from the humiliations TSA imposes on his countrymen.)
What about the rest of us Americans? I’m one who insists, along with others, “We won’t fly”, so long as TSA abuse remains part of the experience. Yet much of the media insists that makes us stubbornly selfish at best, prudishly insane at worst.
Then, there’s Jesse Ventura, the former pro wrestler and Reform party governor of Minnesota. He doesn’t belong to the “boycott flying” contingent; indeed, he flies several times each week in order to host his TV show, Conspiracy Theory. But Ventura, like millions of Americans, has health problems that force him to rely on medical implants or prosthetics — in his case, a titanium hip replacement that’s set off metal detectors ever since he got it in 2008.
Ventura had no objections when the TSA used a handheld wand to clear him through security, but that changed with the “nude-scan or grope-down” policy last autumn. So, on 25 January 2011, he filed a lawsuit against Homeland Security and TSA for violating his fourth amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, claiming the patdowns “exposed him to humiliation and degradation through unwanted touching, gripping and rubbing of the intimate areas of his body.”
No comment from the TSA, though, a few days later, Administrator John Pistole made the unrelated announcement he won’t allow any more airports to opt out of TSA staffing.