Sad commentary on travel in the USA

Sad, but true is probably a better way to phrase it. There’s a column in today’s WSJ online that talks about how we’ve let ourselves become subjugated to our government in terms of going through the motions of travel. Here’s the opening paragraph:

America is in line at the airport. America has its shoes off, is carrying a rubberized bin, is going through a magnetometer. America is worried there is fungus on the floor after a million stockinged feet have walked on it. But America knows not to ask. America is guilty until proved innocent, and no one wants to draw undue attention. America left its ticket and passport in the jacket in the bin in the X-ray machine, and is admonished. America is embarrassed to have put one one-ounce moisturizer too many in the see-through bag. America is irritated that the TSA agent removed its mascara, opened it, put it to her nose, and smelled it. Why don’t you put it up your nose and see if it explodes? America thinks.

The rest of the column goes on to cover some of the candidates and election stuff and why nothing is going to change, regardless of who is elected. It is actually pretty depressing. Combine it with the blog post of an airline pilot who moonlights as a writer for and the NY Times about the foibles of the way the TSA treats us and why the whole thing is a joke and things start to look even more depressing around here.

I lament the fact that I’m not flying as much as I have the past few years, but at the same time maybe it is for the best. I’m probably better off not having to fight with the TSA every time I show up at the airport and refuse to show them my ID (completely legal by the way). Still, I miss the experience of flying and the joy of discovering new (to me) places. And with rising fares (~8 times so far this year) and more trouble at the airport, it seems to be getting less and less worthwhile.

I think that the worst part is knowing that it isn’t going to get any better anytime soon. Regardless of who wins the election in November very little will change. Appearing “soft on terrorism” is a guaranteed way to end up serving only a single term. Being “stupid about terrorism” seems to guarantee reelection. Sucks.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. You really don’t have to show your ID? What do they do next….take you in a dark back room?? Inquiring minds want to know!

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