After I sent around and posted Prof. Walter Murphy’s account of his experience with Bush/Cheney’s TSA, I heard back from Ms. Celestial Sojourner, who noted that she too was on the regime’s “watch list,” along with her husband.
I asked her for a full account, and she provided the following.
Like Professor Murphy, my husband, Frank Moore, fulfilled his
military service and was decorated for it. He was wounded in Vietnam
and when he came home he had a lifelong 10 percent disability.
Neither of us have any criminal record whatsoever, and we are both
strong citizens of our community: Frank is a well respected and
gentle medical care provider, and I have served my community in many
Also like Prof Murphy, Frank and I are on the “Watch List”.
This doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to travel, but it does
mean that we are harrassed when we do. It began about 4 years ago
when we were travelling to visit our grandchildren. The airport
kiosk refused us boarding passes, so we had to wait in line to see
the ticket agent. The ticket agent said, “Oh, you’re on the Watch
List!” We asked why. The ticket agent said, “We can’t tell you
that.” Infuriated by the new secretiveness of our govenerment, we
asked how we could get off the Watch List. The ticket agent replied,
“You can’t ever get off.”
In the last 4 years we have flown many times, and have never
been allowed a boarding pass at the kiosk. Also, we are not allowed
boarding passes for our connecting flights, but must wait in lines
for ticket agents at all connections, to get passes for the next
flight. This sometimes makes us miss connections, because there
isn’t always time to wait in line for another boarding pass between
We are also not allowed return trip boarding passes. Even
though we buy round trip tickets we are not given the return trip
passes until we present ourselves again for search and harrasament on
the way home. While we are vacationing, we have no return ticket to
remind us of when we are supposed to be back at the airport.
Additionally, we have missed flights because they take so long
searching our luggage, and yes, like Professor Murphy’s our luggage
I am am American-born little old grandmother, the decendent
of 4 generations of Americans, the daughter of a WWII vet–and this
is how the NSA searches me: They look in my hair, behind my ears, and
under the lining of my hat. They feel my bosom and crotch, and while
they are so doing they coyly say, “Can you tell us why you are on the
Watch List”? Even more coy is the statement of one NSA officer,
“Why do you look so nervous”? They make me take off not just my
shoes but also my socks and sit down. Then they say, “Hold up your
feet” and then, “Okay, now spread your toes!”. Yes, they look
between my toes, and behind my ears. What could I possibly have
between my toes that is of any interest?
How did we get on the Watch List? I don’t know exactly, but
our political background could be the cause. Both Frank and I have
always been very vocal Bush critics. I have written to the White
House and asked Bush to resign. I have called my Republican
senators and demanded they stop supporting Bush’s initiatives, and
contain the damage he had done. I regularly call my Republican
congressman and demand that he produce articles of impeachment
We have donated money to MoveOn, NormaL, The National
Demcratic Committee and the campaigns of Gore, Edwards, and Kerry. We
have also volunteered on the campaigns of those candidates. All
though the spring and summer of 2000 I used my body as a billboard
and covered myself from head to toe with homemade anti-Bush buttons,
which I wore persistently every day, even when I drove across the
country, on the way from Arizona to Florida, passing right through
Texas. We paid for full page ads in our local newspaper at election
time, enumerating the reasons why Bush had to be defeated.
That was probably enough to do it. There was also an incident
with an Army recruitern, which resulted in his calling my neighbors
and telling them that I was “Un-American”. This happened about 4
years ago–just about the time we ended up on the watch list.
Our youngest child was graduating from high school, ranked
first in her class, and the Army wanted her badly. Indeed, they took
many of her classmates. I begged her them not to go. The Army
recruiter actually went into the schools, during school hours, took
those kids one at a time out of their class and tried to pressure and
shame them into going. My daughter came home from school distressed,
because the recruiter had told her it was unfair of her to burden her
parents with the cost of her college education, and that we would be
reduced to horrific poverty in our old age because of her, and that
she should pay for her education herself with the assistence of the
Army. We reassured her this wasn’t true and told her we didn’t want
to see her in the miliatary under Shrub’s leadership. I forbade her
to speak to the recruiter again.
He began calling the house, over and over–even after I told
him he was not allowed to speak to my daughter; I told him that she
would not serve under this Commander-in-Chief, and I hung up on him.
He called right back and said, “It’s really not up to you wether I
speak to your daughter or not, it’s up to her!” I answered that this
was my phone he was calling, my house, that she was still a minor and
it was up to me who she spoke to. I told him she would never be
allowed to speak to him, and to stop calling. He sarcastically
thanked me for “supporting the war effort”. I stated I didn’t support
it at all, and hung up on him again.
He called back again many times repeatedly over the course of
many weeks. Each time I spoke with him, and told him to stop calling
him. He persisted. Our conversations became more and more
aggressive, with me finally asking him how he could do such an
immoral job as to recruit innocent youth for Shrub’s illegal and
immoral oil wars. He said me it was his duty, and I informed him
that his most ethical alternative to the performance of an immoral
duty was to go AWOL, following the example of his president.
He said the war was neither immoral nor illegal, and
necessary to protect our democracy. I told him I’d believe that it
was a necessary war “When the Drunken Shrub Twins have arrived at the
front lines, rifles in hand,” and that he should “call me back when
they get there,” but otherwise never to call back again. He
persisted, calling every few days and sometimes more than once a day.
I told him that this was harrassment and demanded to speak with his
commanding officer. He claimed to be his own commanding officer. I
let him know I realized that was a lie, and hung up on him again.
After the phone call in which I made the comment about the
Drunken Shrub Twins, I went to the grocery store, and there in the
checkout line I heard from one of my neighbors that this recruiter
had called her house next. He had tried to enlist her child–and
had also mentioned me, saying he had just spoken with me and stating,
“Your neighbor Celestial is Unamerican.” It was only an hour later.
It took less than an hour for this man to slander me to my neighbors.
I don’t know how many other neighbors he called.
So, this Army recruiter not only harrased me and my child,
o slandered me. I don’t know which political perspective of
mine is responsible for me being on the watch List–probably all of
them–but that Watch List is damned Un-American.
Celestial Sojourner, American to the core in Winslow, Arizona