This past week stunned me. I was caught completely off guard by the public foolishness and ignorance over TSA’s attempts to keep air travel as safe as possible.
My frustration started with a post by a Facebook “friend”. Note: Most of my friends aren’t on Facebook. I actually know only about 10% of my Facebook “friends”.
The post expressed fear over exposure to dangerous radiation. Well, being as 350 rems is a cancer dose, I don’t think .003 rems poses a threat to anyone’s health. People do not understand that they will get more radiation exposure on the flight following their body scan. Uneducated People Believe Dumb Stuff
That was only the beginning. The next few posts to fly across my Facebook radar involved the TSA taking “nude” images of air travelers. Nude images? Have you seen the sample images? I would hardly classify them as nude images. And, as someone who travels frequently, I appreciate the measures the TSA is taking to protect my safety. But there are many people who fear being oogled in the nude. Uneducated People Believe Dumb Stuff
The posts then went to the pat downs. That’s where things really flew off the tracks. One woman stated that because of her years of social worker experience, she knows that pedophiles are attracted to work at the TSA to gain access to children. This brought out a flurry of agreement about the perversity of TSA employees and how the pat downs would lead to full body cavity searches. Is it really rational to call TSA workers pedophiles and perverts? Uneducated People Believe Dumb Stuff
This sexually twisted crowd then spiraled into a weird tirade about losing their rights. “The government has no right to treat ‘me’ as a terrorist.” “This is all political correctness because we ‘know’ what terrorists look like” and it’s certainly not and of these pedophile hating Americans. One woman claimed that “we are not allowed to treat the Taliban like this so why can they treat me like that at an airport?” [sic] I reminded her that we are in Afghanistan shooting the Taliban, not providing airline security. Uneducated People Believe Dumb Stuff
The ‘conversation’ eventually led to the usual Constitutional Rights argument. “It’s against my rights to search me” is how the typical post went. Well, if people actually read their Constitution, they would understand that they are protected from unreasonable search and seizure. Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court has added that “probable cause” must be shown to demonstrate a search reasonable. Probable cause was established when 3,000 people died on 9-11-2001. A body scan for explosives and a pat down if one sets off the alarm is certainly reasonable to any rationally thinking person.
But that’s my point. We aren’t thinking rationally as a society these days. More and more, the conversation is being dominated by ignorant, self-centered irrational people.
We complain about gridlock in Washington. There is equal, and far less sophisticated, gridlock on Facebook and anywhere else people are talking. The national dialogue has devolved to myth-based fears and name calling.
This is very dangerous territory folks. As rational civil dialogue is replaced by raving ideology, fewer solutions to our very serious problems will be found. This scares me. It scares me because not only do uneducated people believe dumb things, they will demand dumb actions be taken. Our leaders, trying to cater to all this dumbness will do dumb and dangerous things. If there aren’t enough rationally thinking people to vote intelligent people into office, the dumb ones are going to get their way. Like playground bullies, the uneducated control the national dialogue and intimidate anyone who dares challenge their crazy notions. This is dangerous.
Must we end disagreement? No.
There is plenty of room within the bounds of reason for people to disagree and to seek compromise on tough issues. Perhaps in some areas where agreement cannot be reached, some issues might be demoted in priority so we can focus on the things that desperately need fixing.
I worry that this wildfire of crazy notions will consume us if we don’t return to reason very soon.