While Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney wriggle like fish out of water over questions of personal ethics — especially where moneymaking is concerned — it seems that God (if there is a God) may have decided to help the only remaining Republican presidential candidate who strikes me as a man of character and conviction.
Einstein once said that coincidence is how God reveals himself. In an incredible stroke of good fortune for Ron Paul, his son was detained here in Nashville by airport security and missed his flight after refusing to submit to a full body pat down. Since throughout his career Ron Paul has consistently said that Americans should not be deprived of their Constitutional rights and freedoms in the name of “security,” this should give his campaign not only a boost in the polls, but a considerable amount of free advertising as well.
According to Rand Paul, a U.S. senator from Kentucky, a scanner at the Nashville airport indicated some sort of anomaly on his leg. When that happened, he allowed security personnel to examine his leg, then asked to be allowed to go through the scanner again. But that wasn’t enough for security personnel, who insisted on a pat-down search, which he refused.
At this point things get a bit murky, because Paul claims that he was detained, but the Transportation Security Administration, which oversees the screening process, denies this. But obviously he was detained enough to keep him from making his flight. In any case, Rand Paul was eventually allowed to leave and managed to catch a later flight without further incident.
Ron Paul immediately blasted the TSA by saying, “The police state in this country is growing out of control. One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA, which gropes and grabs our children, our seniors, and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities. The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe.”
If any other Republican candidate made such a statement, we might suggest that he was just “making hay,” since conservatives have led the recent charge to strip Americans of their rights. But because individual liberty has always been the main plank in Ron Paul’s platform, I think his statement is consistent with his values. He has advocated repealing the Patriot Act and the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act, which when combined seem to give the federal government the right to arrest American citizens without charges and “detain” them for the rest of their lives in foreign prisons without ever giving them fair trials before judges versed in the U.S. Constitution and American law.
Six months earlier, a Clarksville mother was arrested for objecting to a full body scan and pat down of her 14-year-old daughter. A full body scan is similar to a nude photograph. A full body pat down is obviously highly intrusive and embarrassing.
How many young girls are terrorists? Why are Americans being subjected to such invasions of not only their privacy but also their “privates”? And, as Ron Paul has pointed out more than once, 9/11 was largely the result of our government’s constant interference in the private affairs of Middle Eastern countries.
If we ended that interference, we could save multitudes of lives, trillions of dollars, and keep other people’s eyes and hands out of our “personal business.”
Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.