When it comes to travel, President Obama is a colossal disappointment. I viewed his election as a victory for intellectual curiosity. Travel is essential to crumbling racism, nationalism, prejudice and ignorance. I figured a man of his background would see the benefit of travel, within and beyond U.S. borders.
President Obama’s failure to bring the Department of Homeland Security, especially the department’s Transportation Security Administration, to heel proves me wrong. Sorry, I said “failure to.” That implies that he tried. He hasn’t. Instead, the president has enabled the TSA to spend money to no good effect: Measures such as back-scatter body scanners and “enhanced pat-downs” inhibit many people from flying rather than making anyone safer.
As if that’s not enough, President Obama wants to make it more expensive to fly.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly takes the president to task while outlining the proposed measures in a very cogent Southwest Airlines blog post. To oppose the fees, check out the Stop Air Tax Now! page.
I’ve read several articles about the potential job loss.
But no journalist has yet mentioned the intellectual loss. Travel broadens minds, stimulates cross-cultural exchange and forges bonds between people of different nations. Do we need less of that?
I’ve alluded on this site to my belief that the U.S. government doesn’t want Americans to travel. Why? Because it’s a big world full of great ideas that we don’t (or rarely) implement in the United States. Exposing Americans to these ideas puts the status quo at risk. This makes the fine purveyors of high-fructose corn syrup, mindless entertainment and superstition (known to some as “religion”) a wee bit nervous.
Because if you travel, you just might wake up and quit playing their games.
Good on ya, Gary, for your stance. Is it self-serving? Sure. But it’s good for the rest of us, too. Southwest still isn’t one of my go-to airlines, but Gary Kelly’s just earned it a bit of extra goodwill from this guy right here.
As for President Obama, I’m not a one-issue voter. Yes, he’s wiggled, waffled and wavered far too much for my taste. And I haven’t seen a Republican who impresses me. But the president should be very aware that his actions make it very possible for a third-party candidate to either spoil his re-election or (though I know it’s highly improbably and would be unprecedented) flat-out win the nation’s highest office.