By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

My wife and I had a wonderful trip to the Los Angeles area last week. We enjoyed the sun and fun – even rented a convertible. The ocean off Malibu Beach and Santa Monica was grand and glorious – resplendent in sunshine.

We got married on Santa Monica Boulevard 44 years ago and it was fun for this Missouri boy and his California bride to return to the place that started us on our amazing journey of love and marriage more than four decades ago.

We ate great seafood and fresh vegetables during our trip, interviewed terrific couples for our next book about successful marriage, videotaped an upcoming television show about our newest book, and, all and all, had a grand California time. It was a wonderful trip, but the journey home was a nightmare.

Here’s what happened. When we got to LAX our trip definitely turned south.

Here I am, a 65-year-old man with gray hair, wearing a pair of Chino pants and a blue blazer. My wife of 44 years was traveling with me. I am not a very dangerous looking guy and my track record in the legal system is squeaky clean. OK, I got a speeding ticket back in the 90’s! But the truth is, I have a great record as a human being overall. My 42 years as an educator qualifies me I think as one of the good guys.

Frankly, when I saw the “full body scanner” in front of me as we were beginning the screening process at LAX, I was kind of looking forward to trying out this new technology. My optimism didn’t last very long.

I went through the body scanner only to be pulled aside and told that the scanner had detected something “in my right groin area.” I said to the TSA agent something like, “Huh?” I had no shoes, no belt, no jewelry, no nothing except my socks, my Chino’s, my underwear, and my shirt. And trust me on this, I am not a terrorist – I have never committed a crime and I only have that speeding ticket I mentioned earlier.

What was about to happen to me was something I never expected. And I must say, it was traumatizing, uncomfortable, embarrassing, and downright humiliating.

I was pulled into a room after waiting for several minutes in the “holding area.” Two TSA agents took me into this side room. The one agent told me he was going to search me. He committed to using only the “back of his hands” during this invasive search.

What happened during the next several minutes clearly and without question violated my civil liberties. What happened to me violated my rights as a citizen of this country, the United States of America.

During the invasive process I was going through, the TSA agent touched my genitals, patted down my legs and groin area, and embarrassed me by rubbing my inner legs and buttocks.

I will ask this simple question of those of you who are reading this – how does a 65 year old man, with gray hair, his bride of 44 years by his side, and one who has a very clean record of service to education for 42 years, get treated like a common criminal – or worst yet, a terrorist – when all I was doing was getting on an American airplane as a frequent flyer with a Gold Card? What has happened to my country?

When I was an undergraduate at the University of Missouri in the 1960’s, my English teacher required me to read “1984” by George Orwell. I dutifully read the book. And the truth is, I thought it was funny. I never imagined that America would come to the vision of George Orwell. Well, think again.

I am very worried about my country. I never imagined that I would be humiliated by my own government. And all in the name of security for Americans. Our government has, in my humble estimation, crossed over the line.

Where is the ACLU? Where are those Americans that profess to protect our civil liberties? My experience in LA was a watershed moment in my life. I have always loved my country and believed in all the liberties outlined in our Constitution. But my government has let me down.

When our government gropes, fondles, and touches our human body in ways that our constitution never imagined, it is time to question what has gone wrong.

Where have our civil liberties gone?

By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz

*For more tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
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Author's Bio: 

As America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts and award-winning authors, Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz help international audiences answer questions about love, marriage and relationships. With 28 years of research on love and successful marriage across six continents of the world and their own 44-year marriage, the Doctors know what makes relationships work.

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