Peggy Noonan: delicate rose.
Peggy Noonan knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a small-government conservative. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The problem with government,Ã¢â‚¬Â sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s written, Ã¢â‚¬Å“is that it is run by people, and people are flawed. They are not virtue machines. We are all of us, even the best of us, vulnerable to the call of the lowÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â
But some lows are lower than others. Peggy doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t much mind the government listening in on our private conversations, so long as itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a right-wing government. Nor does she mind that same government torturing suspects, holding them without legal recourse or going to war as a matter of ideological preference.
No, what bugs her -- and sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been on a roll with it lately -- is airport security feeling her up. After all, sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lady:
America has become creepy for women who think of themselves as ladies. It has in fact become assaultive. [Ã¢â‚¬Â¦]
I was directed, shoeless, into the little pen with the black plastic swinging door. A stranger approached, a tall woman with burnt-orange hair. She looked in her 40s. She was muscular, her biceps straining against a tight Transportation Security Administration T-shirt. She carried her wand like a billy club. She began her instructions: Face your baggage. Feet in the footmarks. Arms out. Fully out. Legs apart. Apart. I'm patting you down.Oh, the indignity. And here, with the entrance of our female screener with the bulging biceps, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re getting to the real problem; itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not government intrusion in our most private space, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ it's the frigginÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ lesbians!:
It was like a 1950s women's prison movie. I got to be the girl from the streets who made a big mistake; she was the guard doing intake. "Name's Veronica, but they call me Ron. Want a smoke?" Beeps and bops, her pointer and middle fingers patting for explosives under the back of my brassiere; the wand on and over my body, more beeps, more pats. The she walked wordlessly away. I looked around, slowly put down my arms, rearranged my body. For a moment I thought I might plaintively call out, "No kiss goodbye? No, 'I'll call'?" [Ã¢â‚¬Â¦]
I experienced the search not only as an invasion of privacy, which it was, but as a denial or lowering of that delicate thing, dignity. The dignity of a woman, of a lady, of a person with a right not to be manhandled or to be, or to feel, molested.
Is this quaint, this claiming of such a right? Is it impossibly old-fashioned? I think it's just basic. There aren't many middle-aged women who fly who haven't experienced something very much like what I've described.What to make of PeggyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s whining about this tiny little sacrifice in a War on Terrr that she so enthusiastically supports?
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about the rightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s concept of morality, which, at its heart, is utterly particularistic. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no Ã¢â‚¬Å“do unto othersÃ¢â‚¬Â universalism; Noonan sees no irony in this line of bitching because she canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t connect her petty beef -- some butch chick touching the back of her bra -- and the immeasurable human suffering inflicted on others in the name of security after 9/11.
For Noonan, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a hierarchy of morality based on who is suffering. Sullying the lady-like vanity of a white, middle-age conservative is unacceptable. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a slightly lower standard for non-white, non-conservative Americans, followed by a lower standard for foreigners from countries that support the U.S. and when it comes to Afghani taxi drivers who were in the wrong place at the wrong time -- innocent people -- all bets are off. Throw Ã¢â‚¬Ëœem in a cage in Gitmo, force feed Ã¢â‚¬Ëœem and forget Ã¢â‚¬Ëœem.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a foul and racist way to view the world. And itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s downright unbecoming for a lady.