The US House of Representatives is scheduled to consider on Tuesday the Honor Flight Act (HR 4812) that would require the Transportation Security Administration to work with a non-profit organization to establish a process for providing “expedited and dignified passenger screening services for veterans” who are traveling with the aid of certain non-profit organizations to visit certain war memorials.
While enactment of this legislation may provide some relief for veterans traveling on these particular trips, the obvious question is why the same basic restraints are not placed on the TSA for its interactions with everyone and for all trips.
Honor Flight Act sponsor Rep. Cedric Richmond’s (D-LA) June 9 press release announcing the introduction of the bill encapsulates the very limited benefit the bill would offer:
Any veteran who desires to travel to our Nation’s Capitol to visit the memorials constructed in their honor should be afforded every opportunity to do so in the most dignified manner. It is the least we can do.
“The least Congress can do” is a fitting description of the bill. Are you a veteran who desires to travel for a wedding, funeral, Thanksgiving or Christmas with relatives, class reunion, surgery, job interview, fun, or whatever reason other than visiting a designated war memorial on a US government-approved trip? If you answer “yes,” then be prepared to wait in line for your scanning, frisking, and invasive property search. Like so many other people, the TSA will continue to subject you to infuriating mistreatment as a precondition of you exercising your right to travel. Maybe, if you tell the TSA employee you were in the military, he will say “Thank you for your service” as he rubs your crotch.
Also note that the legislation does not exempt veterans from TSA harassment even when they are traveling on a government-approved trip to a war memorial. The Honor Flight Act just says the harassment must be conducted in an “expedited and dignified” fashion.
Though promising veterans minimal benefit, the Honor Flight Act — like the TSA PreCheck extortion racket through which people may pay the TSA in hopes of being harassed a little less — divides travelers into categories for differing levels of harassment by the US government. Such stratification of respect for individual rights is contrary to the equality under the law that is supposed to be a basic standard in American government.
A day cannot pass without multiple members of Congress praising veterans for “fighting for our freedom.” If so many Congress members really believe that rhetoric, Congress would eliminate the TSA, restoring respect for a significant portion of freedom denied since the beginning of this century. The Washington, DC political class has determined, however, that it is “too extreme” for Congress members to support eliminating the TSA. Instead of protecting us from the TSA, the House fiddles around the edges of the abusive bureaucracy with the Honor Flights Act and other tinkering bills.