A Shining Age of Human Liberty

During the speech last night by Dubya, he gave us some inspirational words – namely that his motivation shall “lead the 21st century into a shining age of human liberty”. While of course he wouldn’t say anything else, since he’s in a position whereby it is his job to make sure that you are inspired, I have to wonder if anyone else was as amused by this position as I was.

If anything, we as a country have done nothing but lost liberty since the attacks of September 11, 2001, and while I don’t necessarily agree with him in many cases, I would generally say that he at least tries in most cases. Or at least he tries to make us think that he is trying. What becomes difficult for him is trying to convince a populace that security is a difficult concept in such a world. But in this case, it’s less of a best-case scenario and more of a flat-out lie.

While people will naturally define liberty differently, as they should, I think most would agree that there are some things that you perhaps would sacrifice in exchange for security. For instance, having to take off your shoes as you go through security at the airport. It doesn’t make anything any safer, but if it makes someone a little happier, what the heck. It’s a minor inconvenience in the scheme of things. But when does it stop?

On our recent trip to St. Thomas, the outbound trip was rather uneventful. We took off our shoes dutifully, as we generally always do. But the return trip was like a mugging. The ridiculously expensive sunscreen that we had purchased, the liquid foundation, even water bottles purchased at the concession stand in the airport (past security no less) – all thrown out by people who checked every single bag, one at a time.

What sane person goes to a tropical island and doesn’t have sunscreen or a drink? Remember the advertising campaign about carrying something onto the plane to eat, to promote business in the airport? That one’s out the window (figuratively – those plane windows don’t open, you know). Frankly, I’m just glad they didn’t find the mayonnaise packets I had hidden, well, let’s just say that I had hidden and leave it at that.

Strangely, the drunk people who bought a half-carton of rum got to carry them onto the plane. Presumably because the carton was taped and of course because rum contributes significantly to the GDP of the island, while sunscreen barely makes a dent – though that may change with this stupid “no liquids” rule. Maybe if we had crates of well-taped sunscreen, we would have been fine.

But no, our miserable $12 bottle of sunscreen – that had perhaps half an ounce of sunscreen remaining, maybe enough to blow a hole in the air sickness bag – gets tossed while the highly flammable liquid makes it without question. And yes, Barbara, St. Thomas is a US Territory.

That’s a sampling of Dubya’s liberty for you. Welcome to the 21st century. Hope you packed your sunscreen and didn’t have to go through security or the shine might be a tad bright for your sensitive skin.

2 Replies to “A Shining Age of Human Liberty”

  1. When American Tourists can’t smuggle ridiculously expensive cocoa butter into the country from third world islands — the terrorists have won!

    Damn you, Dubya!

  2. The explosive that brought down the Pam Am flight over Lockerbee, Scotland blew only a 4″ hole in the fuselage. But the slipstream caught one of the shards sticking out and ripped it back along the fuselage.

    The skin of an aircraft is what carries the load. With that tear in the skin, the aircraft simply fell apart in midair. It doesn’t take much explosive to bring down an aircraft.

    The good news is, liquid explosives don’t have the bang that dry ones do.

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