Who says the universe doesn’t have a sense of humor?
Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul was briefly detained this morning by the Transportation Security Administration in Nashville, Tennessee after refusing a security pat-down. The Paul camp wasted no time in jumping ahead of the story, with a spokesperson noting the Senator was being “detained indefinitely” (a particularly nice flourish that will appeal to Paul’s base) and dad Rep. Ron Paul tweeting “My son @SenRandPaul being detained by TSA for refusing full body pat-down after anomaly in body scanner in Nashville. More details coming.”
For its part TSA denied Paul was ever detained but rather followed the usual course when a passenger triggers an alarm during routine screening then refuses to complete the screening process with a pat-down.
Both Senator and Rep. Paul are fierce critics of the TSA and their new security protocol, calling them invasive government overreach, and their entire faux-libertarianism depends on this narrative of the Pauls standing up for individual liberty in the face of government tyranny.
So it only makes sense that Paul was on his way to Washington, D.C. where he was to speak at the anti-abortion March for Life rally in D.C. Wait. What?
This right here sums up the libertarianism of the Pauls. It is not intrusive for the government to order a woman to have a vaginal ultrasound before she can have an abortion, but it is intrusive for Sen. Paul to be frisked for weapons and contraband before boarding a flight and after he triggered an alarm. Having the state acknowledge and respect bodily autonomy is the foundation of being recognized as a “person” or “citizen.” Paul’s understanding of who deserves to have their bodily integrity recognized by the state and who does not says everything about the value his brand of “libertarianism” places on women’s lives.
By no means am I endorsing TSA procedures in this or in any case. Like Sen. Paul, I think our security state has veered too far afoul of the Bill of Rights with little, if anything to show for it. But the difference between Paul and his supporters, and me, is that I believe in limiting excessive government overreach in the lives of everyone, including women.
Photo from gage skidmore via flickr.