Just minutes ago at the airport, I opted out of the full body scan, as I always do. During the full-body pat down, I remained cheerful and friendly (again, as I always do). But something happened today that I've never before experienced:

TSA agent Charles (I won't give his last name, as I don't want to cause any kind of punishment or retribution), asked me why I chose to opt out. I gave him my usual answer, that I'm one of those misty-eyed constitutionalists... One of those crazy folk who believe that if we're going to have a highly-intrusive search, it should be awkward for both of us.

"Oh, but you're thinking of those older scanners, that showed the whole naked body. These are totally different; they just show a yellow square."

This gave me pause, because my position is more nuanced: understand, I'll dance completely naked through the TSA checkpoint on a dare. I could care less about people seeing my naughty bits. It's the fact that the fourth amendment states, unequivocally:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

It means that unless you're under suspicion for a specific crime, the government has no business checking through your stuff. None at all. Your business is your own. It doesn't matter if you're in line at the bank, at Taco Bell, or at the airport, the government only has the right to search you if they specifically suspect you of being involved in a crime. This was so important to the founders, they wrote it into the constitution... right alongside the right to speak your mind freely and protect your family with a weapon.

I hate the normalization of these intrusive searches. And I hate the scanners even more: They're a magic trick. A way to make something highly intrusive and unconstitutional feel completely civilized and normal. And me, refusing to play their silly game is my little quiet protest against it.

I did my best to explain my position, and was shocked by his response: with the friendliest of tones, he patiently explained to me:

"Well, if you ask me, it's about time the constitution was re-written. That was hundreds of years ago."

...There was not a hint of hostility in his voice, and not a sliver of malice. It was as obvious as pointing out that they sky is up and the ground is down. And if he is this comfortable sharing this opinion with his hand down my pants, I have no doubt it's a popular sentiment among his co-workers.
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