America’s finest opinion-writer-of, Peggy Noonan, recently visited an airport somewhere — possibly in West Texas, Oklahoma or Central California. She is the Merle Haggard of the Jet Age, the Woody Guthrie of business travel. Also, she is an old white lady and the TSA minorities are sticking the beeping wand between her withered old thighs, and that ain’t right! It’s unnatural, as she is not even an Arab! Let’s enjoy an Okie-Dog of Metaphors with the Op-Ed Princess of Bloomingdale’s, after the jump.
Here is Peggy’s Dilemma — America’s dilemma, really: She had to leave Manhattan for some type of business trip to the Okie Provinces of America. We don’t know why. She doesn’t know why. Maybe to speak to some county Republican organizations, or sell a recently published book about what she saw at the Reagan Revolution? (She saw white people.)
Whatever the reason, Peggy found herself at the metaphorically-rich “Gate 14” of some single-terminal regional airport. Like every fucking airport anywhere on Earth, people are just trying to make their flight and aren’t standing around in clusters discussing The Politics, because they’ve got flights to catch. Like everything Peggy has ever seen, this is significant — particularly because she has a Wall Street Journal column due, and nothing really to write about, and for some reason she couldn’t wait until Tuesday night to write a column that might mention the actual Pennsylvania results, so she conflates these unrelated situations, once again, into the poetical prose we call “Declarations.”
America, meet “America” … otherwise known as “Peggy Noonan”:
- “America is in line at the airport. America has its shoes off, is carrying a rubberized bin, is going through a magnetometer. America is worried there is fungus on the floor after a million stockinged feet have walked on it. But America knows not to ask. America is guilty until proved innocent, and no one wants to draw undue attention. America left its ticket and passport in the jacket in the bin in the X-ray machine, and is admonished. America is embarrassed to have put one one-ounce moisturizer too many in the see-through bag. America is irritated that the TSA agent removed its mascara, opened it, put it to her nose, and smelled it. Why don’t you put it up your nose and see if it explodes? America thinks.”
- “Why do we do this when you know I am not a terrorist, and you know I know you know I am not a terrorist? Why this costly and harassing kabuki when we both know the facts, and would agree that all this harassment is the government’s way of showing ‘fairness,’ of showing that it will equally humiliate anyone in order to show its high-mindedness and sense of justice?”
- “Another thing: It reduces the status of that ancestral arbiter and leader of society, the middle-aged woman. In the new fairness, she is treated like everyone, without respect, like the loud ruffian and the vulgar girl on the phone. The middle-aged woman is the one spread-eagled over there in the delicate shell beneath the removed jacket, praying nothing on her body goes beep and makes people look.”
- “No one in crowded gate 14 looks up to see what happened in Pennsylvania. No one. Wolf talks to the air. Gate 14 is small-town America, a mix, a group of people of all classes and races brought together and living in close proximity until the plane is called, and America knows what Samuel Johnson knew. ‘How small of all that human hearts endure / That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.'”
- “America is Mr. Obama’s problem. He has been tagged as a snooty lefty, as the glamorous, ambivalent candidate from Men’s Vogue, the candidate who loves America because of the great progress it has made in terms of racial fairness. Fine, good. But has he ever gotten misty-eyed over . . . the Wright Brothers and what kind of country allowed them to go off on their own and change everything?”
Oh jesus christ she really is going to blow up a plane!
The View From Gate 14 [Wall Street Journal]