The conspiracy theorists among us might connect a few dots here. I’ll do the heavy lifting for you. Have a look at the Democratic and Republican platforms, and pay attention to the campaign rhetoric, and you’ll see that only one party — the Republicans — presented any kind of threat to the agency’s status quo. Romney’s party had adopted a platform that included TSA reform, and it supported privatizing large parts of the agency.
But the TSA doesn’t want to be reformed.
Last week, it ratified a union contract, which many observers believed would never happen. As an institution, it wants to expand, not be reined in and privatized.
(Disclosure: I didn’t vote for either of the major candidates, for what it’s worth.)
What would you do if you were assigned to screen supporters of a party that you knew presented a threat to your job security? If you answered: harass them, fail to properly screen them, and indirectly allow the candidate to be heckled, then congratulations — here’s your tin foil hat and your very own copy of “The X-Files: The Complete Collector’s Edition.”
Did the TSA cost the Republicans the presidency? In such a close presidential election, anything could have swayed the electorate. But I think it’s safe to say the agency didn’t exactly help.
More to the point, the TSA doesn’t belong at political rallies. Anyone familiar with the history of totalitarianism in the 20th century understands the danger of having an amorphous, paramilitary security organization with an open-ended mission.
The next time you catch a uniformed agent outside a terminal, take a picture and send it to me with a short explanation of the circumstances. I’ll publish it. If enough Americans see this nonsense, maybe it will end.