Who owns liberty? Republicans or Democrats? Tea Partiers or the ACLU?
Legislators in New Jersey this week came up with a novel response: All of the above. This video makes me want to stand up and cheer. Republicans and Democrats – and even an ACLU rep – all came together in opposing TSA abuses.
Privacy and liberty are basic American values. Nobody holds a monopoly on them. We all have a stake. We all have common ground here, irrespective of our other differences.
That’s why I’m dismayed when I see journalists, bloggers, and commenters pinning the TSA abuses on
- solely Obama or Bush (they share responsibility)
- solely Napolitano or her predecessors (ditto, though as far as I know only Michael Chertoff is reaping direct financial profits from the scanners as a lobbyist for their manufacturers)
- undocumented Mexicans (huh?)
- unions (the TSA is not yet unionized, though a ruling last week will let them vote on unionization)
- Muslim women (c’mon guys!)
You can see that the blaming is almost a Rorschach test for people’s pet fears and favorite enemies.
So far, I don’t see the left playing the blame game with quite such zeal as the right. This is partly because Bush is off whacking shrubs somewhere and is no longer a convenient target, while our guy is now in office. It’s also due to the left having been slow to discover this story, while the Ron Paul faction of the Republican Party has been all over it for weeks and months, to their credit. The left simply hasn’t made much of a snail trail yet.
Look, there’s oodles of blame to go around. In addition to this administration and the last, our congresscritters are not crowning themselves with glory. Unlike the legislators in New Jersey, they are mostly kowtowing to the new procedures. Despite Claire McGaskill’s incredibly tone-deaf characterization of the grope-search as “love pats,” craven capitulation to the security state is a bipartisan failing. And then there’s Joe Lieberman, who has earned himself a daily grope-search for eternity in whatever afterlife awaits him.
This is where the creeping path toward fascism must end. Let’s make common cause until the TSA buckles. While the TSA has caved to the pilots’ demands, we ordinary passengers are going to have to be a lot more persistent. (Unions do have their advantages, y’know!) We need to get along – right, left, and center – until this TSA debacle is history. Once this incursion on liberty has been beaten back, we can go back to our regularly scheduled spats.