Three obviously dangerous men. Muhammad Ali, Jr. (l) Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson. Daily Mail photo.
Welcome to Washington, Mr. Ali. Now please step off the line and come with us.
Yes, yes. It’s almost sacrilege and fully demeaning these days to refer to Muhammad Ali by what he called his “slave name,” Cassius Clay, abandoned in 1964 when he converted to Islam.
He was one of the best and most important athletes in American history, and certainly one of the best known.
In fact, it’s almost impossible to find anyone — even now — who doesn’t know Muhammad Ali. With two exceptions. Two agents for the Homeland Security Farceagency.
Ali, Jr. is a pleasant looking middle aged man who resembles his father, though not as much of a visual stunner. But that name? Well, it’s gotten him taken off boarding lines at airports twice now, the latest last Friday afternoon in Washington where he had testified before congress about the first time.
So… not only did the TSA guy at Reagan Airport not know the name, but evidently hadn’t heard the story of how he was detained in Florida last month.
According to the Census Bureau, there are more than 40-thousand men named Muhammad Ali in the United States. One of them’s a cabbie in Manhattan. Another is the manager of a Halal meat market in Chicago (patronized by both Muslims and Jews.) A third has just gone into the bottled water business in Flint, Michigan.
Most of those guys don’t travel a lot, at least not long distances. But you have to wonder if they’ve undergone the same kind of emotional roughing up that Junior has.
So, Mr. Ali, for use in airports (and maybe on the highway or walking down a street dressed in a navy blue hoodie and encountering the square badges) may we suggest some form of photo ID that calls you by the name you never had and that your father abandoned more than half a century ago. Cassius Clay, Jr. may be demeaning. But better demeaned than trying to educate the airport knuckle draggers and security guards with guns.
Look at the bright side: At least your name isn’t Osama.
–Money- losing Staples says it will close another bunch of stores, while co-owned iHeartRadio tries to cope with unpayable debt equal to the gross domestic product of Slovakia and no visible means of paying. And here we thought private equity funds were run by Masters of the Universe. Someone’s getting rich… but it ain’t the stockholders.
–When Preet Bharara refused orders to resign as US Attorney for the southern district of New York, the acting assistant attorney general fired him. He’s made things too hot for crooked politicians of all major parties, for the snakes of Wall Street and other assorted miscreants. Next stop is probably Harvard Law where he’ll become the new Dershowitz.
-I can spell Bhararararara, but I don’t know when to stop.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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