Dee Walker has appeared in Homeland Security Watch several times. Her initial and subsequent posts about her experiences with the Transportation Security Administration continue to ripple. — Chris Bellavita
I was recently quoted in a column in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The column was a re-hash of my on-going struggle with TSA. I have struggled over many months to elevate the debate about TSA above the “why can’t I keep my water” and “why does my grandma have to get out of her wheelchair” dialogue. Apparently, my struggle has been in vain.
In a comment posted to Daniel Rubin’s column, a reader asked, “Why does Deirdre Walker hate freedom?”
Wow. I didn’t know I hated freedom. Then, I began to think about it and I realized, yup, I do hate freedom.
Here are my top 10 reasons: (Well, I was going to have 10, but since everyone in the public sector is cutting back, I’ll cut back to 5.)
- I am a hedonist. Freedom requires work and sacrifice. As a former police officer, I worked rotating shifts, weekends, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s. I worked midnights and then got up after two hours of sleep to sit in court all day, then returned to work the street a few hours later. I worked snowstorms and tropical storms, undercover and sometimes unarmed in order to arrest drug dealers and pimps. Later in my career, I jumped from bed at 2am or whenever the phone rang on my birthday, on Christmas and during vacations. Until very late in my career, none of this felt less a privilege than a sacrifice. Then I looked back at an adult life characterized by missed birthdays, funerals, family dinners and some seriously dysfunctional personal relationships. Only then I realized what sacrifice looks like and more importantly, I understood what it feels like. I don’t just speak of it. I did it. Generally, it kinda sucks. It makes you older faster and more cynical than most. I hate sacrifice, therefore, I must hate freedom.
- I am adventurous. Freedom, apparently, requires that we all have the same, safe perspective on freedom. This apparently means neither questioning authority nor challenging conventional wisdom (an oxymoron that I love). Clearly, those irritating activities were good enough for our Founding Mothers and Fathers, but why should I get involved? I have built a life and career on asking “why” and challenging the answers I received. That is how, I think, we step into the abyss of change. Change, it seems, is a threat to freedom. I love change. Therefore, I must hate freedom.
- I am agnostic. I was not raised in a religious family, and I see that as a good thing, personally. I am generally very ignorant regarding most forms of formal religion. Due to my interest in all things homeland security, I probably know more about Islam than I do about Buddhism or Christianity. I have deep and abiding respect for the rights of my fellow citizens to worship as they please. I do not see a commensurate tolerance for those of us who choose not to worship formally; in fact, we are often viewed with pity, regarded with suspicion and spoken of with bile. Religious freedom is a foundation of our Constitution, and apparently, God loves freedom. I do not believe in God and therefore, I must hate freedom.
- I am comfortable. I have no room for learning from people with whom I disagree. I cannot fathom that I might not be right, all of the time, and why on earth anyone with half a brain would bother to disagree with me when I am so very clearly right. As a retiree, I recently enrolled in a graduate studies program so that I might more effectively plumb the depths of my lack of tolerance for new ideas; but really, I already know everything I need to know. Therefore, I must hate freedom.
- I am disingenuous. I made a career of being a good “second”. As an assistant chief of police, I did not aspire to my bosses job. I got to do the work, and he got to take the heat. Well, it seems I say I like to fly under the radar, but I currently miss no opportunity to step into the light to rag on TSA. Unfortunately, I am very deeply concerned about the agency trajectory and have spent quite a bit of time composing my thoughts on this topic. I have tried to ensure that this dialogue is informed by my education and experience, not just my emotions. Challenging a key component of the Department of Homeland Security has led many people to quite reasonable offer that I because I do this, I must hate my country. Fortunately, I like it when people question my motives and label me as unpatriotic. I thrive on reflexive insults. I am rebellious not robotic and therefore, I must hate freedom.
So, I hope I have made clear why it is that I hate freedom. Freedom is overrated and undermined. It is perishable. It takes too much thought and debate. It requires a lot of work. It breeds humility and tolerance. Who has time for any of that?