On losing our individual rights

February 29, 2004

I am not an activist, by any means. I have opinions, but little desire to crusade for them.

Last night, Mom and I went to the Philadelphia Wings game. The Wachovia Center has instituted new security policies. They used to just search pocketbooks. Now they wand you outside, and still search purses. That hit a nerve.

I don’t LIKE being wanded like a criminal. I think it’s an assumption of guilt. It’s humiliating to everyone who pays money to attend events. I’d go so far as to call it an instance of unreasonable search (and seizure) thereby violating my liberties affirmed by the Bill of Rights.

Mom knows my opinions. “Please don’t say anything,” she whispered as we approached the entrance.

So I bit my tongue, held my arms out, opened my purse, and complied. After it was over, I stepped aside, and waited for Mom. As I watched my (censored for my own protection)-year-old mother be scanned, I quietly shook my head in disgust. I said nothing.

“What joo shaking yer head at?” the security supervisor barked at me. He spoke to me as if I were a punk teen loitering at the mall, or a earthy-crunchy college hippie chained to a tree. I am neither. I am a gainfully employed taxpayer who votes. I am not a child with an attitude problem. I am an adult.

But apparently, I cannot even register non-verbal disgust. “I’m not allowed to say,” I replied, and walked into the building.

During the Star Spangled Banner, I faced my flag (as always), put my hand over my heart (as always) and quietly sang along (as always.) But I hurt. Why? Because in my land of the free and home of the brave, I am afraid to say that I disagree with the newly instituted security practices. I feel as if I must succumb quietly, because any inkling of disapproval will be rebuked, as it was last night.

And if we all are made to feel like we cannot question these processes, our children will open their purses and spread their arms without even a second thought, because this will be common practice in America, our land of the free and home of the brave.

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