By Harriet Baskas Travel writer

“Airline passengers aren’t the only ones complaining about the Transportation Security Administration’s new enhanced security procedures. Many TSA employees aren’t too happy, either.

“The American Federation of Government Employees, the union that represents TSA workers, is urging the TSA to do more to protect its employees from abuse from airline passengers angry over the new security methods. The union reports that some members “have reported instances in which passengers have become angry, belligerent and even physical with TSOs (transportation security officers). In Indianapolis, for example, a TSO was punched by a passenger who didn’t like the new screening process,” the union said in a Nov. 17 statement posted on its website.

“‘Molester, pervert, disgusting, an embarrassment, creep. These are all words I have heard today at work describing me. …These comments are painful and demoralizing,’ one unnamed TSO posted on (a) website.”

Travel has become a terrible mess. The government twists and turns, coming up with new “rules-de-jour.” The “Fortress America” attitude grows. We’ve become a nation of Xenophobes. Americans are angry at everything and everyone. As a result, bigotry against Muslims, Jews, Blacks, gays, Mexicans, aliens is rampant. Republicans hate Democrats; Democrats hate Tea Partyers; Tea Partiers hate everyone. Mistrust, anger and hatred.

Osama must be laughing in his cave. He has divided America as never before. Our welcoming America, the America that proudly called, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!,” that America we once knew and loved, no longer exists. We have let it die. We have let Osama win.

So what is it we are fighting for?

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell