“All you did today was weaken a country”

The headline is from the movie “A Few Good Men,” spoken by Jack Nicholson. With Erroll Southers bowing out under pressure from Sen. Jim DeMint from his appointment to head TSA, all that has happened is that the country is less safer today. DeMint’s assertion that Southers position on collective bargaining was unfounded as there are plenty of provisions for federal employees who are part of a union to ensure they don’t all walk out the door, and still remain flexible enough to respond to rapidly changing threats.

What has happened is that TSA, a rudderless organization by and large and desperately in need of real leadership from someone who understands aviation security, will continue to sail on in the North Atlantic in iceberg season, without anyone at the helm. This is NOT an indictment of those individuals who in interim leadership positions with TSA. Remember when you had a substitute teacher in school? It’s just like that. Regardless of what the sub says, you knew that when the regular teacher was back, the rules the sub made were out the window. Interim leaders have a difficult time getting things done because everyone knows they will soon be out the door.

I know that Erroll would have done a tremendous job and I’m sorry to see him pull his nomination off the floor. I know that his actions and those of his colleagues have made LAX a much safer airport to fly out of and into. It’s too bad he will not get to implement some of those strategies on a national level, and truly make our skies safer, rather than this patchwork of rules we’re seeing now.

Meanwhile, with al Qaeda actively plotting and attempting attacks on aviation, our Congress choses to play partisan politics, rather than put the safety of the traveling public, their constituents, at the forefront.

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