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Rosa Parks in 2010

Today is the 55th anniversary of Rosa Parks refusing to move to the back of the bus. With good reason, this is a checkpoint of history. This was one of the events that served to inspire and guide blacks and whites alike, moving our nation toward a new era of liberty and freedom, regardless of race.

Let's take a look at how this would go down in 2010 America:

  • Rosa Parks would be a male with slightly Arab features who is trying to board an airplane to China.
  • A fastidious groomer, our hero has neglected to remove a pair of nail clippers from his pocket, thus prompting the TSA to pull him from the security line at the airport, to be given a thorough, groping pat-down.
  • Our hero objects, saying that he will gladly discard the nail clippers but that such an intrusive pat-down is a violation of his civil rights, and he refuses.
  • The TSA detains him indefinitely, without due process and without giving him access to a lawyer. He is held for up to 48 hours in an undisclosed location, where he is repeatedly searched, grilled, and threatened.
  • Upon his release, he is issued no apology for his mistreatment, but is instead given a stern warning (or veiled threat) and placed on a lifetime no-fly list.
  • He is now a "person of interest," and so is harassed any time there is a potential terrorist threat.
  • He is unable to fly, and so loses his job and is forced to work as a low-paid clerk in a major retail chain.

I'm not very good at political commentary. I'm just not interested or knowledgeable enough. But I doknow story, and I can spot when a tale has gotten off track. The story of America started off pretty fine, but we've been slipping lately. We're letting fear dictate our plot, and a corrupt, backroom-dealing government decide our plot points. I'd love to make a suggestion on how to fix that, but this is one story even I have trouble following.

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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at


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