I Was For It Before I Was Against It

29 Nov
Even Sister Mary Catherine Gets Inspected

Even Sister Mary Catherine Gets Inspected

Does it matter if someone you detest is behind an idea you support?  Similarly, are you more willing to consider an idea you dislike if someone you support is behind it? I pondered these questions last week when I went through the whole gamut of emotions in response to the TSA’s new ramped-up security guidelines.  Yes, last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, was the busiest travel day of the year, and TSA agents were busy touching crotches and operating full-body scans in the name of national security.  I was in favor of the backlash against the new, invasive security procedures.  And then I found out who was also for the backlash, and I threw up a little in my mouth.

You see, conservative activists salivated at the chance to point out the public’s anger over Obama’s new security measures.  Yes, the enhanced security procedures rolled out across the nation’s airports became a part of Obama’s new security, and Obama was attached to it as an adjective like Obamacare, with similarly ominous overtones.  Big brother is taking pictures of your naked body at the airport, the libertarians cried with glee.  This is proof that government is further encroaching on our lives (and crotches), they claim.

I was appalled at the idea of airport security becoming even more onerous than before. In the wake of the September 11th attacks, people were willing to do anything they were asked in the name of security.  Air travel became a pain as we could no longer greet travelers at the gate, removed our shoes, and had to transport our shampoo in clear, tiny bottles where the contents could clearly be seen (I had a tube of lipstick confiscated in Mexico City because it was considered liquid.  Adios, expensive red lipstick).  And although the vast majority of travelers are law-abiding citizens, we agreed to this all, until air travel began to include revealing our naked bodies to strangers and offering up our primary and secondary sex organs for inspection.  In the off chance that we were sneaking a bomb in our chonies (never mind that an old printer cartridge will do the trick).

So I was glad to see people stop acting like sheep and stand up for their dignity and right to board a plane without submitting themselves to almost certain embarrassment.  And yet.  Does being against the new TSA procedures mean you are in favor of racial profiling?  When people complain that old ladies, young kids, and nuns should not be frisked, do they mean that some other group is more deserving of this same treatment? And does my unease with increasingly intimate screening procedures place me on the side of the libertarian right/civil liberties left coalition that opposes these searches on purely ideological grounds? I was against the new TSA screenings before I found out that THEY were against them.

And though the context here is decidedly political, the lesson to be gleaned, I hope, is not, and can be applied to all areas of life. Sometimes, it is okay to support the idea even if you don’t support its proponents.  Yes, this may mean seeing eye to eye on one issue with (gulp) Michelle Malkin, and accepting that.  On the left, I wholeheartedly support gay marriage, even though the effort to legalize it in California was defeated in part because of the public’s uneasiness with San Francisco’s smarmy Mayor Gavin Newsom.  Yes, sometime it’s annoying when someone you dislike holds a view you support.  And this doesn’t just hold true in the political world.  Professionally, good ideas come in all shapes and sizes.  Don’t be afraid to support a new pitch or service or product if you’re not crazy about the person behind it.  It could be worse.  You could find yourself in agreement with Matt Drudge.

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