I never thought much about the Secret Service because it never seemed necessary. They were superheroes (and heroines) who always seemed like the guards in front of Buckingham Palace. When they were on duty no one could distract them; they were focused on one thing and one thing only, protecting their charge. I never even pictured what the Secret Service did when they were off duty (except for glimpses in the movie The Bodyguard, which was, after all, fiction.) I guess I thought about them the same way I thought about my teachers in grade school. They tucked themselves away in a closet, closed their eyes and shut down until their services were required once again.
This is the first hint I have heard of Secret Service agents misbehaving and I must say they did a really outstanding job of misbehaving. They fought, in a very noticeable way, over paying for services from a woman when they had apparently agreed to a much higher price before services were rendered. Tacky and trashy and stupid; superheroes tarnished, security compromised, even our President’s safety could have been endangered. In an era of terrorists this type of lapse is more egregious than usual. Why did it happen? Are we so “me” oriented that loyalty to duty and country is secondary? Has anything like this happened before but without our knowledge? Is the training of agents not as rigorous as it once was? Is modern America just too “Porky’s” to expect men to make a serious commitment to a lifestyle that is known for its seriousness (I don’t think any female agents were involved in this.)
I do take the dereliction of these Secret Agents as a frightening lapse in judgment and the performance of duties. However, I too live in modern America and I have seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Airplane, so I find myself sort of laughing in church when I see something like the ad that Spirit Airlines published and which has now been pulled, but which I saw on CNN yesterday. I apologize in advance to Susan Collins, but it did make me laugh. My only defense is that a spoof is designed to be funny. It still doesn’t get those agents off the hook though.