TSA Agent Pretty Sure Washington D.C. Isn't In America
So let's say it is the dead of summer. And let's say you have to fly to Florida. And not the grown-up fun part of California, like Miami. No, you have to fly through Orlando, land of Mickey Mouse and sticky heatstruck weeping children. And when you do so, you get stuck in the airport thanks to a TSA agent who is not actually sure our nation's capital is part of the United States. You hate your life.
The incident occurred over the weekend at the airport security checkpoint when an officer for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration initially refused to accept a passenger’s District of Columbia driver’s license as a valid form of identification, and asked for a passport.
As if dealing with the TSA wasn't Kafka-esque enough, suddenly you find out that living in the capital of the United States and carrying a license to drive there is insufficient to prove your citizenship. What could make this more hilarious? Oh, just the fact that the individual who was apparently now stateless also happened to be a teevee reporter.
Unfortunately for the TSA, the passenger happened to be a Washington, D.C.-based reporter for Orlando ABC affiliate WTSP which aired a story detailing the incident on Tuesday, attracting more media notice. [...]
The reporter, Justin Gray, said in his broadcast that the officer told Gray he didn’t recognize the District of Columbia driver’s license before requesting a passport. Gray, who wasn’t traveling with his passport, said he queried the officer.
“’Do you not know what the District of Columbia is? Washington, D.C.?’ After some back and forth, it became clear he didn’t,” Gray said.
It's bad enough that someone would be uncertain about this, but to really double down and fight about it is impressive in a perverse way. Gray had to go get a TSA supervisor to get this straightened out, netting from TSA a statement that they'd make sure everyone that works at the Orlando airport will be shown a District of Columbia drivers license. Sure, great, whatever, but we still have a couple questions. First, isn't that whole "license from everywhere" thing something they'd be doing as a matter of course, since their ENTIRE JOB IS CHECKING LICENSES?? Next, even if they weren't shown helpful pictures of how each license works, wouldn't you hope that your TSA agents, who basically are little tiny gods that can keep you from making your flight, would know what the capital of 'Merica is? We're not particularly nationalistic, but that does seem like a threshold requirement for the job. Also, considering that pretty much the same thing happened in February in Arizona, you might think the TSA would have sent some reminders around after that mess.
This would have never happened under President Sarah Palin, who displayed such a keen grasp of geography during her VP campaign. We can only conclude that this happened because our nations's moral fiber continues to decay and now no one knows where the government lives. Thanks Obama.