Saturday, January 03, 2009

Has The "Politics Of Fear" Won?

A Detroit born anesthesiologist, a lawyer and their families including three boys ages 7, 4 and 2 were removed from an Air Tran flight headed for Orlando and not allowed to re-board. They are Muslims.

The TSA and Homeland Security has succeeded in impregnating fear into our psyches to the point where idle conversation between strangers boils it to the surface. Even if you aren't Muslim you are stripped of your privacy every time you take a flight. Talking among yourselves even puts you at risk. No jokes in the security lines. If you're Muslim, it's best not to talk at all!

What's most egregious about this incident isn't that it happened, but the fact that having been cleared by the FBI before the flight departed, they were not permitted back on the plane. The pilot was uncomfortable. Obviously some of the passengers were uncomfortable.

Okay. They were discussing which part of the plane was considered the safest in which to sit; one commented about how close other planes were to theirs. They were Muslim. Immediately suspect.

But consider this. They had been able to purchase tickets, get boarding passes, no name on the "no fly" list, and both their luggage and themselves had been thoroughly screened.

What have we done? I thought we had finally succeeded in putting unwarranted prejudice and fear behind us as we are about to inaugurate our first African American President. I think, perhaps, all we've done is replace one people with another.


Rinkly Rimes said...

When London was bombed last year a cousin of one of the terrorists, who was a respectable doctor here, was arrested! He's claiming compensation now. Do you recall how many innocent Japs were imprisoned in America in the Second World War?

Sylvia K said...

I think we have a long road ahead of us in ridding ourselves and our country of "fear factor" that the Bushies so capitalized on. As I have written before, I had my own long, scary, questioning at the airport in Portland on my way to Dallas three years ago in spite of being in my 70s, white haired and not very big, but obviously they had something or what they thought was something as they wouldn't let me check in online. It was more than a little unsettling, not to mention I very nearly missed my flight as a result. Like you, I had hoped we had suceeded in putting these things behind us -- apprarently we'll all have to wait and see. But it seems, I'm afraid, that you're right -- we've replaced one people with another and that's a sad way to start the year!

Linda said...

I'm afraid the Arab people have a long wait for acceptance into American society. That's such a shame because they are delightful, rich in mind, colorful people that we are the losers for not knowing.