There is a grass-roots revolt against state-sanctioned sexual harassment. And who can blame the protesters? Children are stripped of their shirts, and their private parts are touched. Nuns and old ladies are groped by intrusive TSA agents. Breasts have been fondled. Men's crotches have been patted down. Full-body scanners show images of people naked — a clear violation of privacy and civil liberties.
The administration insists that the enhanced procedures are vital for national security. The rationale: Last year's underwear bomber nearly blew up a plane flying over Detroit. Hence, everyone's private parts are now the property of the federal government — at least when flying.
This is wrong and dangerous. Airport screening procedures have been a huge experiment in mass political correctness. For fear of insulting Muslims, the U.S. government has insisted that all Americans take off their shoes, pull out their belts and walk through metal detectors at airports. Americans have patiently put up with these inconveniences. But now, for many, enough is enough. "Don't touch my junk" has become a national rallying cry.
The central problem with modern airport security is that it falsely assumes that every person — each of the 7 billion people who inhabit the planet — is an equal terrorist threat. The 80-year-old Irish Catholic nun, the 3-year-old toddler, the 61-year-old bladder cancer survivor whose urine bag was punctured by TSA apparatchiks — all of them, according to Mr. Obama, are potential suicide bombers. They're not. To pretend they are is to engage in leftist multicultural fantasy. It embodies the triumph of ideology over reality — the deranged belief that anyone at any time is a lurking jihadist.
Islamic terrorism is not an open-ended, universal characteristic. Rather, it is a specific, narrowly defined phenomenon. It is fueled by Muslim extremists bent on waging a holy war against the West. Its perpetrators tend to be young adults from the Middle East, North Africa, the Arab world and the Muslim ghettos of Europe. Most jihadists fit this profile. What is needed is not more groping, crotch-grabbing or nude screening, but better intelligence-gathering, random checking and targeted profiling.
Washington insists on perpetrating the illusion that a Christian grandmother in Iowa poses the same possible national security threat as a 19-year-old Yemenite exchange student majoring in Islamic studies. Hence, America is squandering precious resources and manpower, as well as abrogating basic civil liberties and humiliating its population, in order to appease the sensitivities of the Muslim lobby.
Moreover, the new TSA procedures mark another major step in Mr. Obama's drive to impose state socialism. If anyone else did what TSA agents do regularly, they rightly would be charged with sexual assault. Mr. Obama has done the unthinkable: He has extended the federal government's reach into our most private, intimate body parts. Big Brother not only watches us in the nude, he can routinely molest us at will.
The administration is not restricting its unprecedented power grab to airports. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently said that trains, boats and subways also may implement the same screening procedures. If the White House has its way, Americans will be getting felt up on the Metro and Amtrak every day — morning, afternoon and night.
Ultimately, these measures are not only degrading and wrongheaded. They are profoundly illiberal, reflecting a deep-seated contempt for individual rights and civil dignity. They also reveal a radical leftist outlook that views Americans not as self-governing citizens, but as subjects of a nanny state.
Like many on the progressive left, Mr. Obama is an anti-American political thug. He despises the Constitution and capitalism. He bristles under the restraints of democratic governance and the system of checks and balances. From Vladimir Lenin to Fidel Castro to Hugo Chavez, socialist leaders have masked their will to power by portraying themselves as visionary thinkers — sophisticated intellectuals seeking social justice. In reality, they have one goal: revolution.
Mr. Obama has embarked America upon that perilous path. He has de facto nationalized health care, the financial sector, the insurance industry, student loans and major automakers. He has appointed numerous policy czars with vast Cabinet-level powers who have not been confirmed — or even vetted — by the Senate. His administration violated parliamentary procedures and repeatedly bribed and arm-twisted members of Congress to ram through Obamacare — against the expressed will of the people. His surrogates sought to directly manipulate and interfere in primary elections on behalf of pro-Obama candidates — likely committing several felonies. His Interior Department falsified scientific reports to justify the temporary ban on oil drilling in the Gulf Coast. His Justice Department has refused to prosecute blatant voter fraud and intimidation. Mr. Obama has referred to his critics as "enemies" who must be "punished."
He is seeking to use the lame-duck session of Congress to pass more unpopular, sweeping legislation — a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill; the DREAM Act, which effectively grants amnesty to illegal immigrant students; and repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding homosexuals in the military. Hence, an unrepresentative Congress, in which the House Democratic majority was defeated and replaced in the Nov. 2 election, thinks it has the right to circumvent the electorate.
Mr. Obama's regime has abused its power and fostered anti-democratic behavior. He is slowly erecting a soft police state. It is not one with a fascist jackboot on your face but with a unionized TSA bureaucrat in your crotch — all in the name of public safety. Say hello to Big Brother Barack.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a radio talk show personality and a columnist at The Washington Times and WorldTribune.com.