Mother*$%#!ing Bush Administration. That’s my well-reasoned, calm, collected response to the Transportation Security Administration‘s use of two sets of shady, underground lists of names to harass non-terrorist American citizens at airports around the country. If your name is similar in any way to a name on the “terrorism” list, then you’ll be held and searched and harassed by untrained airport security people until the FBI arrives and (hopefully) authorizes your release. By which point you’ve already missed your flight (and lost a lot of faith in your own country). That’s bad enough. But wait: it turns out there’s a second list, the existence of which was once only rumored, but which is now actually substantiated (click here to read the ACLU federal complaint (you’ll need Adobe Acrobat)). To get on the first list you have to be somehow suspected of being related to terrorism after an investigation (or have a name similar to someone suspected of being related to terrorism, it appears). To get on the second list, well who knows. That list comes from a bunch of different places and no one seems to know whether there are any criteria for putting people on it. And, as we know, there certainly aren’t procedures for getting your name off either list. Ever.
So, shouldn’t we be worried that people are being delayed and harassed as they attempt to travel by air? And that, far from being shoe-bombers or identified terrorists, their only distinguishing characteristic is that they’re liberal activists (and in smaller numbers, even conservative activists)? No one at the TSA appears to be concerned about this. Everything gets justified by 9-11. Hello? Does it make sense to turn the U.S. into some sort of Stalinist regime in order to keep everyone safe? Do we not care anymore about civil liberties? Am I naive for even asking questions like this? Grr… People, all I have to say is that even though the situation seems overwhelming – so that it’s hard to know where to start, or how to start – there is *one* simple thing you can do. Vote. Vote. Vote.
Ok. Stepping off soapbox now, still fuming a bit. But Patriot Act or no Patriot Act, I still have to pack this !$@%# apartment…
[Rage Against the Machine lyrics=1]