Published: 24 January, 2012, 22:05
Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (AFP Photo / Chip Somodevilla)
Ron Paul has long opposed the TSA and has campaigned for its abolishment for years. Following an episode on Monday that left his son, Sen. Rand Paul, stranded in a Nashville airport, the presidential hopeful is asking for help to finally end the TSA.
Early Monday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul triggered a false alarm while passing through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint on his way to Washington DC. As per TSA standards, the government-hired screeners on site asked the senator to submit to a personal pat-down. Rand Paul, however, had other plans. Senator Paul says he asked to be re-scanned. Shortly after 10 a.m., the senator’s Facebook page announced that he had been detained at the Nashville Airport by the TSA.
Hours later, his father, Texas congressman and Republican Party contender for the GOP nomination Ron Paul, addressed the matter on his official campaign website.
“The police state in this country is growing out of control. One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities.The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe,” wrote the congressman. He added that, under his own “Plan to Restore America,” he aimed to save $1 trillion federal spending, a goal that would be reached in part by ending the TSA.
“We must restore the freedom and respect for liberty that once made American the greatest nation in human history. I am deeply committed to doing that as president of the United States,” added Congressman Paul.
On Tuesday, Ron Paul furthered his fight for ending the TSA by asking on his official website for campaign contributions so that he could help bring down the government agency if he can make it to the oval office. Only one day after the incident in Nashville, the older Paul asked his followers to donate towards an “End the TSA Money Bomb.” Within hours, he managed to bring in over $50,000 in donations.
“I’m proud of my son’s stand, but just imagine those who receive this kind of treatment every day in our nation’s airports and can’t fight back?” asked Congressman Paul. “The elderly. The disabled. Little kids,” he said, “All victims of an out-of-control police state that, while doing nothing to make us safer, is working overtime to strip away our freedoms, our rights and our basic dignity.”
Even for those who don’t necessarily subscribe to the strict libertarian leanings that both Pauls share, many see a problem with the current operating procedures of the TSA. In 2011, the Transportation Security Administration’s airport checkpoints were marred by a series of scandalous events. In June, a 95-year-old leukemia patient was subjected to a strip search in Florida; in October, authorities in New York City humiliated a breast cancer victim by refusing a note from her doctor requesting she not be touched; and a month later at the same airport, three separate elderly women reported that they were subjected to invasive searches for seemingly no reason.
In most cases, the TSA has responded apologetically and addressed the issue. For Ron Paul, that’s not enough. While a “sorry” might be soothing for some, it has still victimized many Americans, he says. When the TSA wrote of their track record for 2011 in a blog post published earlier this year, they addressed that, even with an $8 billion budget, their “Top 10 Good Catches” of the year included nothing monumental. Instead, rather, the TSA wrote that their best finds of 2011 included a handful of reptiles and, in one instance, the science project of a college student. By the end of the year, the US Travel Association reported that two-out-of-five travelers during the December holiday season were trying to seek other modes of transportation.
On his own site, Ron Paul quotes Rep. John Mica (R. -Fla.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee and co-creator of the TSA, who himself has grown weary of the government agency.
“The whole program has been hijacked by bureaucrats,” says Rep. Mica. “Everything they have done has been reactive.They take shoes off because of [shoe-bomber] Richard Reid, passengers are patted down because of the diaper bomber, and you can’t pack liquids because the British uncovered a plot using liquids. It’s an agency that is always one step out of step,” he adds, but not before calling the agency “a complete fiasco.”
Both Ron Paul and Rand Paul feel the same way, and since his “End The TSA Money Bomb” has raked in an additional three thousand dollars since the last five paragraphs have been penned, many Americans must agree as well.
“As president, I pledge to do everything in my power to strengthen our national security by ending the theatrical sham that is the TSA,” Ron Paul writes today. “I know it’s short notice, but we’ve put together a mini-Money Bomb to bring even more attention to this critical issue tonight and tomorrow.
Will you help me win this race and fight back for our civil liberties by making your most generous contribution right away?”he asks.