Monday, February 7, 2011

Music Monday: NIN- Head like Hole

I will admit it, in addition to being contrary, I am a closet punk rocker. I like the irreverence of punk. I like the fact that they challenge our sensibilities musically and politically.

This weekend I was at an event and the discussion turned towards our civil rights in a variety of contexts.

I happen to like my civil rights as outlined in the much forgotten Constitution of the United States of America. (shockingly - so many American could not tell you what that document actually says. Furthermore many of those Americans hold elected office or other positions of power.)

Ironically this document grew out of some wealthy men's desire to not pay any more taxes to the jolly King of England. That said, it outlines some pretty fundamental rights. Rights that each citizens is entitled to as a birth right. As a citizen, these are rights that are yours. (I happen to think that with these rights come great responsibility. We suck at this part of equation, in case you were wondering.)

We increasingly seem willing to just deal those rights away in the name of "diversity" or "security."

In a discussion this weekend - it was offered that my rights are not being violated when I fly and have to submit to a public groping. Flying is not a right, it is an option. In short my friend feels that the airlines have the right to say I must submit to the trampling of my Constitutional rights, if I want to avail myself of their product. (Truth of the matter - the airlines have no say here...)

Hmm - I disagree. Flying is a mode of transportation. In most cases the airport is owned, fully or partially by a local municipality. (or some regional authority) (read: tax dollars, ergo as a tax payer, it is an asset of the people for the people.) The FAA is a governmental body as is the TSA. Fully funded by my tax dollars. If anyone should have to follow the letter of the Constitution, I think it ought to be governmental bodies. They should be held to the highest and most restrictive standards.

As Americans we deal away our rights, because I think we are too busy with stupid reality TV to be fully immersed in our responsibilities. In short, we have heads like a hole. We are willing to bow down to power hungry politicians, corporations and say "yes Master" because we are too busy doing nothing to care. Taking a stand would mean actually forming a well balanced opinion, thinking about something bigger than ourselves and growing  up.

Another reason we are willing to deal these rights and responsibilities away is we do not educate our children to understand what our rights and responsibilities are. We have become a nation of lemmings. No one is willing to take a stand. We are no longer concerned with what is right or wrong, we are concerned with what is easy, cheap, and/or noncontroversial. We are loathed to say "no" to anyone, so we say, "yes, maybe, I don't know or care, just hurry up and go away."

Flying may not be a right. I will agree, it is an option. It is an option which should be weighed on its merits. It should be subject to market forces and NOT GOVERNMENTAL thievery of my rights as outlined in the document which is the basis for the legal system of this country.

No One - and I mean not even Uncle Sam has the right to grope me or my children in public for any reason - other than the very narrow exceptions allowed for in the Constitution. You may look, within reason, but you may not touch. (That exception is folks, if I commit a crime and you have proper court sanctioned documentation to look or overwhelming evidence that I likely committed a crime. Last time I checked purchasing airfare was a commercial not criminal decision.)

Let's step away of the idea that airline tickets are in someway special, in terms of commercial goods. Let's assume for a moment the jihadists who flew the planes into the twin towers were devotees of Coke. Let's say they bought it by the case. Coke could, in an effort to keeps its brand name free from taint and to prevent future wing-nuts from involving its product in terrorism and the death of 100s of people, institute a scanning procedure prior to purchase. Prove you aren't a terrorist and then you get a can of  coke. There would be scanners in the grocery store, strip searches before you pop the top. No scanney, no drinkey. The commercial decision to purchase corn syrup laden beverages would be in effect be criminalized as airline travel has.

(At this point I am sure you think I am crazy.)

I admit, this is absurd. So let's tackle something more germane. Timothy McVee leveled a federal building with a U haul and some fertilizer. Last time I was at the feed the store, the clerk might well have been undressing me with his eyes, but he did not subject me to radiation, take pornographic X-rays of me, nor grope me. But using the logic of the TSA and the Obama administration, fertilizer is a weapon and is deadly, people who buy fertilizer must be terrorists and therefore must surrender their rights in order to make a purchase and feed their roses. Gardening is an option. Well fed roses are an option.

You do not have to be groped to rent a car. Cars could do as much damage as a plane if loaded with the right amount of C4. Last time I was at Hertz, no one groped me. Renting a car is an option.

This song was written and performed when I was in high school/college. Sadly I must say the holes in our national heads have grown collectively larger in the time since.

I, for one, think it is time to stop the blood flow, don't you? We are not lemmings. We are capable of better. My example here today is but one small example of how our collective indifference is slowly eroding some  of the freedoms which are part of what makes us Americans.

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