After 9/11, the security industry was subsidized to levels only the military-industrial complex had ever dreamed.
We were told we would be made safe. The bad guys would never hurt us like that again.
What we were not told is that we would day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month, year-by-year, watch our personal freedoms erode to such a degree that the free world would become more like a police state than George Orwell imagined (or imagined perfectly, perhaps).
It all started sort of comically one day in 2002 when an elderly woman was forced to surrender her knitting needles to "the authorities" before boarding an airplane. We all laughed, because it was so absurd. Granny made it to her destination without her knitting, and we moved on with our lives.
And things got worse.
Our giggles have turned slowly to outrage.
On the one hand we say: "What do you expect? The people controlling our airport security only have those jobs because McDonald's wasn't hiring. They are just a bunch of idiots."
On the other hand we say: "This will keep us safe. A little inconvenience at the gate will make me safer in the air."
We have the group that says: "This is a complete and total violation of our right to privacy and unreasonable search."
We have another group that says: "I've got nothing to hide, so let them search me." (Note: this group is generally made-up of middle-class white men who are never stopped and searched for any reason.)
It's a debate we have among ourselves while the security companies change our rights quietly, hoping we pay no attention.
Congress is no help to the citizenry. This group of 630-something millionaires pretending to represent the common man see this situation as an opportunity to profiteer, not protect us. They pass laws that restrict freedom and provide funds to security companies to militarize our police force and restrict our freedom.
This problem is not unique to the United States, but is happening throughout the free world, with our closest allies.
And we sit by and we watch as seemingly isolated events happen like this: a dad is harassed for photographing his daughter eating an ice cream cone in a shopping mall because it violates the Terrorism Act. A woman is stopped and refused boarding a flight because of her cupcake because it violated anti-terrorism regulations. A family is arrested and their child removed from their custody at a supermarket over an accidental dispute over s three dollar sandwich. The list goes on.
And the middle class, the now voiceless, silent, frightened middle class silently acquiesces.
One only need look at the government's handling of the Occupy movement: the beatings and assaults on people of all ages by battle-armored urban police forces. I have few pundits question why our police use military-grade equipment on children and elderly people protesting government policy.
Are you really safer from the threat of terrorism?
Can we even discern between enemy combatants and our own police forces?
Will the middle class ever enjoy the freedoms of movement, assembly, and speech that we used to take for granted?
Just because Khloe Kardashian's genetic lineage is today's big news, does that mean we should sit by and watch our government being turned over to military and security contractors?
Please read the following stories for a little entertainment. Pretend the Kardashians are the subjects:
Father's photo of daughter in shopping centre sparks security dispute
Cupcake sparks airport terror threat
Fighting Crime at a Supermarket in Hawaii
To help you submit to the brave new world in which we live, Independent Traveler has published an Airport Security Q&A at their site.