Day 24 of my Boycott of TSA and the Airlines

I never did take that vacation meant to replace my lost trip to Scotland.  My friend there has moved on to Austria to watch her niece win another bike race, my sister in NYC has had her first baby—I’d love to be in both places, yet I’m choosing neither.

I came across an argument as to why the TSA and airlines have every right to treat their passengers as criminals–it claimed basically because they are private industry they should be able to do as they please.  I find this line of thinking incredibly intriguing and came across something similar when we first moved to the country.

At first I was surprised the only available option for high speed internet was Hughesnet satellite.  The service is slow, expensive, doesn’t work in bad weather and has required regular maintenance men to come over the last 3 years to repair, replace or reposition the satellite.  Each time they try to charge me for this extra servicing until I bitch profusely and then they waiver it.  They’ve been good sports that way.

As I complained about this far and wide the general sentiment came back as “that’s what you get for living in the country.”

Travel and internet are part of modern-day life now as running water, telephone and electricity became household expectations in the West in last century.  There was a push by the government to level the playing field a bit and bring these services to the countryside.  And they did.  We are quite far out here, but we have municipal water.  Our telephone service is very reasonably-priced, because it’s mandated so that the sole provider of any necessary service can’t take advantage of their unique position.

Unfortunately equitable internet and cell service around the country still aren’t considered necessary-enough.  Apparently, like getting frisked for the privilege of flying, “this is the cost of my choice.”  That’s the firm Capitalist consensus. “Buck up, baby!”

OK, that’s fine.  But let’s unpack that a bit more and consider some possible questions.

Nearly everyone living rurally is already at an economic disadvantage and even groceries are far away.  Add to that a medical and an educational disadvantage and if you need internet for your job or business, as most do nowadays, another disadvantage there too.  The very same issues of the average inner-city.  Is it serving us if large chunks of our citizenry are so routinely marginalized?

Similarly, if the only way to get across the country or the ocean in a reasonable time, whether for my job or pleasure is to fly, yet in order to fly in the US I must accept being viewed as a potential terrorist and subjected to invasive physical screenings, my only choice is then to not fly or to “Buck up, Baby!”  Just as my only choice to have decent internet is to not live rurally.

For a successful Capitalist country, how is it these are actually considered choices?  For those people who consider our system a “free market” –where are the market corrections for these serious system flaws?  Will there be a rogue airline that defies TSA security procedures?  Will there be an internet company that forgoes profit to dig rural cable lines?  I’ll hold the space for those potentials to emerge; and I’m sure I’ll still be holding it in a decade.

What matters in both cases are only the numbers.  The number of citizens complaining about the screenings must be significant enough and made by enough influential people to make the authorities change it;  the number of rural residents willing to pay for expensive cable lines must be significant enough to make it worth the corporations’ while to make it happen.

Corporatocracy rights over individual rights, because we conveniently don’t call them rights anymore.  Now they are privileges.  It is a privilege to live rurally and a privilege to fly.  And a privilege to eat healthy organic food, and drink fluoride-free water, and breathe smog-free air and live in a country with “free speech”.  These are all great privileges that the industry and government and corporations bestow on us. Some of us anyway.

What matters to them is they have the latest spying technology and the greatest possible revenues not whether you have a decent school district or your small business can compete globally.  And they certainly don’t care if your senile grandmother is required to get frisked in her wheelchair.

“They” don’t care, but maybe you do?

Follow this blog for the next 2 days and really consider if all this Terrorist Watching is making you feel any safer.

If you think there might be something rotting in OUR House that needs our attention, simply in the comments section write:

Not in my House!