It's finally here! The day before Thanksgiving! That means National Opt-Out Day — the day travelers can say "hell no" to a scanner that may or may not be able to detect bombs in a body cavity in order to say "okay, fine" to "extended pat-downs" that definitely don't address body cavities — has arrived! TSA administrator John Pistole says that airports are fully staffed and prepared to deal with the potential delays involved with the protests, but cautions, "There's a certain unpredictability about all this." Yes, like will patriots come already prepared with a catchphrase to rival "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested"? Or will the line slow down while they tweet about their experience and upload a video, waiting for it to go viral?
While passengers fret over getting ogled or groped, Fred Burton, a former CIA and Secret Service agent who now works with the global intelligence firm Stratfor, wonders why so few people are asking why now. "TSA didn't wake up and say let's do full-body pat-downs; they are dealing with a very specific and viable threat that is very serious," he told KXAN in Austin, adding, "Remember, governments are reactionary; very rarely are they proactive." Hmmm, that certainly sounds like the government we know — at least the shrinking-civil-liberties-for-a-looming-unspecified-danger part.
As for today's boycott, its initial organizer, Brian Sodergren, says National Opt-Out Day doesn't end in line at the airport, urging Americans to continue the conversation around their holiday meal.
Families should sit around the dinner table, eating turkey, talking about their experience — what constitutes an unreasonable search, how forceful of a pat down will we allow on certain areas of our body, and that of our children, and how much privacy are we will to give up for flying?
Well, Nana, I prefer a firmer open-handed pat on my genitals, but more of a light graze on the upper thighs. Pass the stuffing?