Cordova Chronicles: Comfort animals no longer the issue

A display in Washington, D.C., solicits information on rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol. (Jan. 10, 2021) Photo courtesy of Mike Maguire/Flickr

Sitting on the desktop of my computer is the draft of a Cordova Chronicles feature I had begun about the recent ban on “comfort” animals on airplanes.

I had intended to pen a humorous piece about the variety of critters people had packed to airports and aboard planes because they felt insecure about flying without them.

Of course, this was before all hell broke loose in our nation’s Capitol, and right now, I am having a hard time finding anything to laugh about.

By pure coincidence, while trying to keep up with all the unbelievable news of Jan. 6, I stumbled across a pair of posts involving travel encounters in a terminal and aboard a plane which reminded me that perhaps comfort animals are not the only creatures that need to be constrained.

By now, we all know that in these days, nothing cannot be caught on some one’s cell phone, and then instantaneously sent out to everyone in the world. These were posted on Jan. 5, and perhaps foreshadowed events soon to follow.

The first two-minute clip showed Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, sitting casually in a row of seats near a gate at the Salt Lake City terminal waiting to board a flight back to Washington, D.C. He was dressed modestly in jeans and a light-weight jacket, engrossed in work on his laptop.

A lady came up, interrupted him, and began berating him about his political stance regarding the presidential election. Romney quietly tried to reason with her. Without success. In fact, the more he tried to politely respond, the louder and angrier she became.

Finally, he closed his laptop, picked up his belongings, and left.

No one, including nearby passengers, terminal security, or airlines personnel, appeared to intervene.

Then a second video was posted. It was taken aboard a plane in flight, showing passengers both seated and standing, shouting “Traitor, traitor, traitor!” This went on for considerable time, before finally, an announcement, which was cut off in the video, came over the intercom.

Safe to say the passengers were not hollering at a loose comfort dog named Traitor, but rather at the 2012 Republican candidate for President of the United States.

Can you imagine what you would have felt like if you were an innocent passenger on this flight, perhaps with your kids beside you?

Or try putting yourself in Sen. Romney’s shoes.

When later interviewed by reporters following the incident, Romney stated: “That’s the nature of politics today, unfortunately.”

Personally, I wish the flight attendants had written down the names of these miscreants and sent them ahead to TSA agents that could meet the plane when it landed.

In our nation’s Capitol.

The rest, as they say, is history.