Getting used to it

Board a 1929 Ford TrimotorThe Transportation Security Administration says the extra security for flights taking off and landing in the United States is necessary because of the attacks in Paris and Brussels. The lines get longer and the evening television news says check your bags so they don’t hold you up in the search line.

Then the airlines increase their fees for checked bags. TSA promises to hire more people to search our luggage.

Which will drive up insurance rates for those of us who carry cameras and other implements of destruction as carry-on because to leave it in checked baggage is too often to not find it there when we arrive at our destination.

Of course, you might want to pay an extra fee – a news item the other night said $85 would do it – to avoid the whole wait-in-line thing.

The solution seems to be leave all your suitcases and knapsacks home and – fly naked.

Or don’t fly. The latter is my favorite option, even while I know that to refuse to fly is to add marks in terrorists’ “Win” column. On the other hand, we would quickly get used to the sight of each other sans attire and settle back to enjoy the flight. We human adapt easily to inconvenience. In a couple of months we will be OK with showing up three hours before the flight, the way we were not long ago with two hours.

It has been said that if a frog were dropped in boiling water, it would spend its last minutes trying desperately to escape. If, on the other hand, the frog were placed in cold water, and the heat turned up gradually, it would get used to the incremental temperature changes, and succumb in pleasure and presumed comfort.

It’s not an experiment I recommend, but the premise, it seems, based on evidence at hand, has merit.

We are on the cusp of electing as President a man who promised to block people from other lands from entering within our nation’s boundaries. “While we figure out what’s going on,” he said. Later, he assured us it would be a temporary ban.

I submit any such ban would, or should, be insulting to Americans – but we will get used to it, the way we decried slavery, but allowed the practice for more than a century.

And imprisoned Japanese for no more crime than having been born in a country with which we were at war.

And refused to allow entry to Jews fleeing Adolph Hitler’s pogroms.

By the way, it was not only Jews Hitler targeted. He also had his sights on Catholics and gypsies and anyone else who did not hew to his definition of “German.”

As I write this, my mailbox is filling with reports that President Obama is at fault for the long lines at our nation’s airports. One reason being presented is the administration has made it difficult for airlines to kick TSA off the premises and hire their own security agencies.

Maybe replacing TSA with private security officers is a good idea. At least that way, while we stand three hours in line for a 30 minute flight to another state, we may consider part of the reason for the increased fees tacked onto our air fares.

Airlines are among the industries profiting from our fear. While the TSA advises us we should check our baggage to shorten the time we spend in line, the airlines increase their fees on checked baggage. Add to that the price we pay for technology to search our person and possessions that rivals the effectiveness and price of some medical equipment. And our distrust of nearly everyone who is Not Us.

What’s not to like?

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