Aiming at the wrong target

Imagine this scenario: you own a restaurant a couple blocks from the police station. It proves popular with the police department as well, and officers are frequent patrons. Then one night the police arrest one of your friends. You take issue with the arrest, and to protest it, you decide that the police are not welcome so long as they hold your friend in custody.

What do you think will happen? Will the police cave in and release your friend, or will your restaurant take a serious financial hit to the point where you’ll either reverse the policy or go out of business?

If you think the police would give in, you’re mistaken, yet that seems to be on the mind of one business owner in the Seattle-Tacoma area. Except instead of the police, the patrons are employees of the Transportation Security Administration. She seems to believe that by not allowing TSA members to patron her business that the TSA will change its policy.

Somehow I doubt that’s going to happen. Instead she’s just going to lose business. When one sacrifices one’s livelihood to prove a point, you neither prove your point nor have a livelihood.

Direct your anger at the source of the policy, not those whose job it is to take the policy and put it into practice. Taking your frustrations out on the TSA agents is like venting your frustrations about police during a police stop – an unwise idea to say the least. I’d like to see this business owner walk into an airport security checkpoint and mouth off to the TSA – I wonder at what amount the judge would set bail?

The one thing that everyone needs to bear in mind is that if you have a beef with the government, agents of the government are not the people to whom you should be venting your frustration or on whom you should be taking out your animosity. They are powerless. They must enforce the policy or they risk losing their job.

Mouthing off to police because they arrested a friend of yours will only get yourself arrested. Mouthing off or accosting TSA agents because you don’t like the policies they have little choice but to enforce will probably also land you in Federal court. Say your friend ends their lengthy unemployment streak by taking a job with the TSA? What then? Do you turn away their patronage at your restaurant? Make an exception?

If you have a problem with a particular policy, then avoid situations in which the policy becomes applicable and mouth off to your elected official – keeping it somewhat civil to avoid your words being misinterpreted as something else.

Your elected officials have the power to act on a policy. The lowly officer in the location where you encounter them does not. And turning away willingly paying customers simply because of who happens to employ them is a foolish decision. If a business owner were to turn away everyone who works for a company, organization, or agency with whom they disagree, they’d be out of business in no time.