Notes from the Decline of Our Democracy, Vol. 763

So. Yes. I’ve known about this for a while. I’ve even stood for two hours in the security line, during which I missed my flight, in part because these people were being escorted into the metal detectors ahead of me. Still, something about this post particularly rankles:

Clear Card: When I found out about this card from Heft (Mary’s roommate) last night, I needed to do more research on exactly what this card provides. Basically, it’s a ‘Fast Pass’ through airport security. It allows you to cut the line, but you still have to partake in the same TSA airport related screening (i.e. scanning your laptop separately, taking your shoes off…). It only works at specific airports, so make sure to check out the exact locations they support before purchasing this card. I like the idea of giving this as a gift, this may be a perfect impromptu present for my favorite man in my life (my dad).

Here’s a reader review of his experience using Clear Card:

I’ve had the Clear Card airport security thing for 2 years now. It’s very nice. It doesn’t let you just skip the line. I use it all the time when I’m going in and out of San Jose/San Fran airport. You get your own line, with a person that helps you through, most of the time it’s not a separate metal detector or anything, you basically skip the long queue/line of people waiting to go through metal detector, the CLEAR staffer goes with you through their own security booth that scans your eye or fingerprint to authenticate your identity, then they escort you to the front of the line, basically CUTTING in front of the person who was about to go through the metal detector. They stand with you and will help you put stuff on the table to be x-rayed etc.. TSA still does the security at that point, you just get to cut the line essentially. I get some funny looks cause I get escorted and get to cut the line. No one ever challenges the person cutting the line either, very funny. It’s a two tier system, and I don’t see how authenticating you helps anything, all you do is cut the line, other than that, same security / TSA protocols, you have to take your shoes off, belt off and laptop out etc… Nothing different except cutting the line.

True. And I suppose that in the moral scale of things, paying someone $128 for the privilege of inconveniencing your fellow passengers is a minor offense. But it is a simple affront to our shared democratic-with-a-small-‘d’ values, not to mention, you know, our shared humanity. And every time more velvet ropes go up in public spaces, we all lose a little more.

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