Editorial: Senator Paul took admirable stand by refusing TSA pat-down

Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist
Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul will not be patted down, nor will he back down from his stance on airport security, as he demonstrated Monday on his way to Washington.

The senator refused a pat-down search at a Nashville, Tenn., airport after he triggered a sensor during a full body scan, according to news reports from CNN and Bloomberg Businessweek.

When told he would need to have the pat-down before moving on from the checkpoint, Paul requested a second body scan and, in a CNN video, said he even showed officials his knee — apparently the offending area during the scan. However, this was not sufficient for Transportation Security Administration officials, who, according to CNN, refused to replace the pat down with a second scan, citing protocol.

In the end, Paul didn’t make it onto the plane, but he was eventually allowed to take a later flight after passing through a second scan without incident.

Some may not agree with Paul’s stances on airport security. He believes second screenings should not only be an option for children, but also for adults, and he would like to see the creation of a “frequent flier” program that would lessen the security burden on those traveling multiple times each week. Businessweek also reported that Paul said that some of the TSA’s practices (such as searching children) make him feel less safe.

But even those who don’t agree with Paul should be able to admit that it’s nice to see a politician standing up for what he says he believes in. Paul certainly deserves respect for that.

He could have given in and agreed to a pat-down for convenience’s sake; surely he didn’t enjoy missing his flight any more than the rest of us ever do. But instead of giving in, he stood up for the rights that he believes belong to travelers in America and the protection of their dignity, which he said is being lost amid the TSA’s security measures.

He didn’t abandon his constituents or his principles even when it would have saved him time and a hassle. He simply stood his ground.

Often, it starts to feel like politicians are incapable of keeping a steady stance. We see them flip-flopping over positions all too frequently.

But Paul’s actions signify that we can hope for more from our leaders. We can expect them to stand behind their statements and to stand up for us in the ways they have pledged to.

Politicians from all camps can take away a valid lesson from this scenario: You don’t have to put your foot down when it comes to pat-downs, but you should be able to stand firmly behind your words.