Our nation may be caught in deeply hyperpartisan, “socialism” vs. tea-party polarization, but liberals and conservatives finally have hit on an issue able to unite them.
Left and right agree: neither side much likes the groping and “porno-scanners” found in airport security lanes.
Commentators and bloggers from across the political spectrum have taken aim at the new, intrusive airport security measures — and both sides have elevated John “Don’t Touch My Junk” Tyner to folk-hero status.
It’s more than a little remarkable these days when a conservative like Charles Krauthammer and a liberal such as Firedoglake blogger Jane Hamsher each leap to the defense of any one American figure as they did for the man who famously demanded airport screeners keep their hands off his privates — and videoed the encounter.
What is it about objectionable search procedures that suddenly cause liberal and conservative voices to sing from the same hymnal?
The most immediate answer is that this problem truly is one from the grassroots. The objection to the scanners and searches sprang up suddenly from the country, not Washington. That freed commentators across the spectrum to opine as they pleased, unhindered by the set-piece talking points they usually fall back on in commenting on most other, more-established issues in order to engage in their customary point-scoring against the other side.
The larger question to ask, though, is why must this new common cause be limited only to airport security?
Why couldn’t this newfound pat-down populism grow to encompass more of our national debate?
The answer is that there really is no reason at all.
The shared outrage over airport screening demonstrates common motivations on both sides in favor of such values as dignity, fair-play, and skepticism of authority.
Liberals and conservatives might find these shared ideals could well be applied across the board — to jobs, wages, consumer rights, even foreign policy and more.
We could all build on the shared airport anger we’re experiencing and actually find we still have more in common than we might otherwise think.
Now, I’m not so naive as to believe peace will break out up and down Pennsylvania Ave. just because none of us like to feel violated.
We may still be Democrats, Republicans, liberals and conservatives. We will still have our differences and separate points-of-view. But, perhaps, we may get further toward solving more problems when we realize we often start from the same place.
In the end, what these hated security scanners I think will most reveal is that we are all still Americans.
Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade. Capitol Idea is his regular column from Washington. This article was first published as Bipartisanship In The Airport Screening Line on Blogcritics.