It’s a rare day indeed that I get to say this, but today I’m quite proud of my state’s elected representatives in the State House:
State senators Michael J. Doherty (R- Hunterdon) and James Beach (D- Camden) announced today that they will present resolutions to the Senate and Assembly calling on the U.S. Congress to end the controversialTSA screening procedures at U.S. airports. Their action comes in response to widespread concerns over privacy and radiation, as well as reports of inappropriate conduct by TSA agents during the screening process.
Doherty and Beach were joined in the announcement by a number of other members of the state legislature, as well as the NJ ACLU representing both parties and coming from numerous different parts of the state, ranging from close-in NYC suburbs that were particularly hard hit on 9/11 such as Englewood to the Philadelphia suburbs to some of the least urbanized areas of the state such as Hunterdon and Warren Counties.
This is a group that, should it succeed in passing a resolution, cannot simply be disregarded by the TSA as being a group of fringe activists who are unserious about aviation security. Instead, it is a group of elected representatives that hails from the state that was second-most hard hit by 9/11, and which sits smack dab in the middle of the busiest metropolitan area for commercial aviation in the country. If a diverse group of legislators from such a state are saying that the TSA has gone too far in balancing security – or, more accurately, the illusion thereof – over liberty, then it is no longer a debatable issue: the TSA has simply gone too far.
James Fallows has been repeatedly asking in recent days:
Seriously, the security-versus-liberty situation is always a balance. But who in public life is speaking for the “liberty” side of the balance at the moment? Where is the check on new machines, procedures, requirements from the TSA — or the politician who will ask, Is this worth it?
It appears that, finally, this particular group of politicians has chosen to step up to the plate. Unfortunately, all of the above aside, they are still only state-level politicians, and the TSA isn’t going to start listening until some national-level politicians start doing the same. But, hopefully, this group doing so on the state level will make it easier for politicians on the national level to follow suit.