Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Excess Baggage: Airport Security Personnel Are Known for Their Sense of Humor

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Excess Baggage: Airport Security Personnel Are Known for Their Sense of Humor

Article excerpt

Being a resident of our country's last colony, Washington, D.C. ("Doesn't Count"), it's hard to approach tiffs political season with anything but a jaded, albeit cynical, pessimism. Like most Iraqis, I am waiting for self-rule to be established in my hometown, and to experience "democracy," this new thing I keep hearing about where citizens have, like, a vote.

Fortunately, there are other benefits to living in the nation's capital, although I can't think of any right now because I'm too busy not drinking the water, which you shouldn't, on account of the lead, which there's too much of. (Of all the things I've taught my children, it's irony that I'm most proud of. For example, my youngest just came home from Central America, and when she got back to D.C. I had to warn her not to drink the water here.)

To compensate for an absence of meaningful political participation, I have for years taken an interest in the congressional district of my youth in Indiana (motto: One Man, One Gun). I watch with jealousy as voters in my former district, after first receiving instructions from the Republican Party, exercise their right to vote. Hoosiers, as they are called--there's a story to that name, but it's really boring--are a devoutly conservative lot who, for example, believe the only foreign aid we give should be shipments of bootstraps so recipients can ... well, you know.

The 8th District of Indiana, where I spent my formative years, is currently represented by Rep. John Hostettler, a fine Republican who was recently detained at an airport. Details are sketchy, so I'm not sure whether it was his laptop computer, his cell phone, or the loaded 9 mm semiautomatic handgun in his briefcase that caused concern among the security personnel.

In fairness to the congressman, who has a license to carry a concealed weapon, he had just come back from a visit with constituents in his district, or, as Washington insiders privately refer to it, "in-country," a frightening place populated by voters who foolishly make up their minds without first consulting a lobbyist.

Hostettler was cited on a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed deadly weapon. (Is it just me, or does the phrase "concealed deadly weapon" seem like an odd fit with the word "misdemeanor"?)

But let's not jump to conclusions. …

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