Should rank have this kind of privilege?

George Korda|KnoxNews

If Mr. Durbin had to follow the rules it might do him a lot of good. Lawmakers should be required to deal with the same things their constituents must face. They are our employees.

I was sitting at a restaurant at Washington-Reagan airport a year or so ago when Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, accompanied by a young man who appeared to be an aide, turned up the aisle with the big no entry sign, thus bypassing Transportation Security Administration security screening.

“That’s interesting,” I thought.

They did not come out. TSA employees did not react with alarm and close down the airport, but rather waved them on through.

One suspects Mr. Durbin, today assistant majority leader of senate Democrats, is not the only member of Congress to avoid what the rest of us have to go through to board a plane. He just happened to be the one I saw.

Perhaps it’s possible he was going to meet someone getting off a plane. Perhaps it was a one-time event, though that’s a bit hard to imagine. (Note: I called Sen. Durbin’s office and asked for someone to call and let me know if this was a standard practice; as yet I’ve received no response. If I do, I’ll follow up in a future column).

It doesn’t matter what the reason for his going in the out door. You and I can’t do that for any reason, ever. No exceptions. Pilots and crew members are not exempt. Grandmothers and babies line up to be wanded, scanned or patted down. If one of us breaches security we’re a national story.

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