Sunday, December 5, 2010
All of the recent flapdoodle with full-body scanners the TSA has been foisting on the American public in the name of ostensible security reminded me of what air travel was like in my youth. To say the least, it was quite different.
My father was in the military, so our family did a fair amount of travelling by air in the 1960s. Back then, there was no security screening: you paid for your ticket, checked your bags, headed to your gate and got on the plane--no fuss, no muss. You could take on board the plane what you could carry, and never was it even hinted at that someone would want to search your belongings. This is how I was able to get my anole lizard, purchased for one dollar in late 1967, from Detroit, MI to El Paso, TX. That's right, I carried him directly onto the plane without a problem.
How? He was in his plastic cage inside of a brown paper grocery bag that I placed at my feet as I sat down. No other passengers were aware of the stowaway reptile they were sharing their flight with and business went on as usual. The stewardesses, as they were known back then, served food, and snacks, and drinks, oblivious to the extra passenger not on anyone's manifest. When the flight was over, we deplaned and that was that. No one was harmed, no one was groped. I sometimes wonder what other odd and/or exotic cargo made secret trips aboard commercial airliners back then.
But we are a different people now. We are a good deal less realistic (in other words, immature) about life. So many people have bought into the childish notion that life can be lived without limits, especially financial limits, that our government now reflects that belief. We are also less likely to point out obvious truths--such as certain groups of peoples being more likely to commit anti-social acts than other groups of people (think 9-11)--lest the cudgel of political correctness land upon our skulls.
Somehow, though, we muddle through all of these idiocies and indignities, although not unscathed. We are a changed people, less involved in what matters in life and more involved in voyeuristic pursuits. We are distracted to a fault by nonsensical blather and gadgets to the point where we can no longer think out a problem and come to a logical, sensible solution. So we throw up our hands in despair and let the so-called experts in government, business, and banking (the lines of distinction between the three blur more every election cycle) handle the problems--with disastrous results. Then we wonder why things never seem to get better. Wonder no more, friend, go peer in the mirror.
Look how far we've fallen. From peacefully carrying a lizard on a plane to limiting the amount of liquid one can embark with and frisking children.* But the most galling fact of all is that the American people, those fools who live vicariously through sports teams, and theatrically-belligerent, freakish-looking "wrestlers," and actors, are allowing this to be perpetrated upon themselves. The American people are not the bada**es they like to pretend to be; they are cowardly sheep who leave the thinking to the shepard. The few who aren't like that are the ones protesting, but they are fighting an uphill battle against the inertia of the masses.
*Yes, I'm aware of the events of 9-11-01. I'm also aware of the entity that created the conditions favorable for that epochal event to occur, the U.S. government through their interventionist policies, chiefly their support of Israel. It's not that the U.S. should or shouldn't be supporting Israel. It's that the U.S. should not be sticking its globetrotting nose into ANY other country's business. If Israel can't survive on its own, then it wasn't meant to be. If it has to use nuclear weapons to survive, so be it. At this point, I really don't care anymore. It's not any of Main Street America's concern; we came over here to get away from all of the strife the rest of the world is perpetually locked in.