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Archive for the ‘vacation’ Category

Quebec student protesters media coverage misses truth on street level

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Though I only saw 5 nights on the streets of Montreal, what I did see was nothing like I had taken in via the Web and through English-language accounts.

They were having fun, though they had a serious message. They were happy when people took their pictures. They didn’t even care if we were American. If anything, people were happy that an American didn’t freak out over the prospect of  the protesters during his vacation.

I didn’t seek out the protesters on my trip, but they weren’t hard to find. Often, they started in different parts of the city. As I noted at the time, they didn’t bother my vacation one bit.

For more on the protesters, pictures included, check out this update from our sister blog,


Your guide to the TSA, the protesters, and the other travelers on Thanksgiving Day Eve

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Today is Thanksgiving Day Eve, one of the busiest travel days of the year. Today is also the National Opt-Out Day — the proposed boycott of the new TSA standards where people are only given two options: exposure and X-rays vs. being fondled by complete strangers.

There are a lot of sides to this battle, and the good news is that we have advice for all of them:

For those who are participating in the demonstration, do so in a straightforward manner. You are there to make a point and you are also there to get somewhere. The more concise you are, the more powerful the message you will send.

For an extra push to your point, request a private pat-down since they take longer.

For those who are traveling through and not participating in the boycott, what the boycotters are doing is fighting for your rights. You will get to your destination. Appreciate what they are doing in the name of democracy and the Constitution. What they are doing is also within the guidelines of the TSA — they are allowed to refuse the scanner — so you should accept their behavior on those grounds.

The TSA system is set up to work efficiently ONLY if people refuse the pat-down. This system wasn’t thought out well by TSA, and the need for “safety” trumps everything, including getting you to your plane on time.

Some have speculated that the pat-down was introduced as an extreme to make us accept the scanners.

If you feel that your desire to get to your destination is being infringed, by all means, go for the scanner. And don’t get caught up in that pesky private pat-down. That only prolongs your wait.

For those traveling with children, do what you can to preserve their dignity, even if no option available allows their dignity to remain intact. Even those children under 12 aren’t getting the regular pat-down, every pat-down will involve some touching, regardless of age.

For those running the TSA and doing the searches, understand that you can scare us short term. But if we become blasé because we think the government is lying to us in the name of safety, we won’t truly be safe, even with cavity searches.

For those in Congress, the Cabinet, and maybe even the Supreme Court, look around you as you are being exempt from this humiliation, and try desperately to put yourself in their socks. Of course, you can’t put yourself in their shoes since they aren’t wearing any shoes during this ordeal.

For the media figures who will be covering this story, especially on television, resist the temptation to scorn the boycott. Don’t give us pseudo-anecdotal stories and present them as fact over a broader scheme. Don’t underestimate the numbers. Treat those who participate with dignity; they aren’t in your way.

Journalists talk about getting “both sides of the story” as if there are only two possibilities. So far, the MSM coverage has been along the lines of “roll over, take it, who cares — all in the name of safety.”

Whether you agree with the protesters, consider that they may have a point. Someone has to fight for democracy and our rights; the MSM sure as hell isn’t doing so.

Good luck to all the parties and Happy Thanksgiving!!

picture credit: The Washington Post — picture was added on November 25.

Written by democracysoup

November 24, 2010 at 7:19 am