I saw an ad tonight on MSNBC. I assume it is running elsewhere but it particularly struck me that it was on a supposed liberal news show. The ad was for American Express Card. The gist of the ad was a man going to an airline counter to purchase a ticket to San Francisco. He goes to pay for the ticket with a card that has kittens on it. The agent looks annoyed and the next shot is two TSA people standing behind him putting on latex gloves and telling the traveler that they need to question him. The next person uses an Am Ex card and sails through.
I watch enough (too much?) TV to get all the references and the ad does exactly what it was targeted to do: Make you think that AM EX has credibility that other cards do not. What frosts me is that it we are so conditioned to this constant state of war that we believe this is a normal way for people to behave. If there is the slightest hint of anything that low-level functionaries don't like or even if there is no rational at all, then an ordinary citizen is subject to the most demeaning treatments you can imagine. Treatment that 8 years ago would have gotten these minimum wage Brownshirts a punch in the nose to the applause of other travelers. To attempt that today would get you a minimum of two days in a TSA sweat box with hand and leg irons and most likely some time in a real prison.
You could not have written a story about this happening to America 8 years ago and sold it anyone. They would have laughed you out of the room. And yet 8 years later we accept it so completely that it becomes a "cute" ad. With my perspective of 50 some years, this stands out to me but imagine a young person just coming to voting age. This has been how things are done for all of their adult life! I only hope that in the upcoming election we can bring some sensibility back to this country and maybe spend the next 8 years fixing some of what we have broken. If we don't, all I can say is "Show me your papers!".