United Airlines fiasco: Munoz vs Dao was just business


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So United came to terms with Dr. David Dao the elderly passenger they publicly humiliated and brutalized. However it doesn’t remove the stain nor the stench from what happened. What happened two weeks ago on that airplane was shocking. But then again we should not have been that surprised, considering our social/ economic/ political system which is driven solely by the profit motive and reinforced by naked force.

It is a system built around the needs of profit, not human beings and it was in full display in the mistreatment of Dr. Dao.

Not even the fact that the offending passenger Dr. Dao had purchased a ticket, paid his way, pulled his own weight, so to speak could save him from the wrath of the money grubbers. This conflicts with the fallacy that if we do everything the right way, we will be okay.If we put our money down we are supposed to get what we pay for, well not exactly.

Many were upset with the initial response of the United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, but in retrospect it made perfect sense. Good business acumen told him that whatever he did he shouldn’t admit guilt, which is tantamount to a confession of wrong doing, which could cost lots of money in a lawsuit. But he miscalculated in trying to save face and money he actually wound up looking callous and the company took a financial and public relations hit.

But not to worry, where else can the flying public turn? The folks running things and the go along to get along public have allowed the airline industry to be pared down to four major carriers. The lack of competition is reflected in airline ticket prices, which oddly never seem to go down.

So clearly Munoz went too far beyond the pale as it turns out, it would have been cheaper to simply apologize in the beginning and settle the inevitable lawsuit. Though United cleaned up their initial goof and sounded more humane in offering an apology the damage had already been done.

The hard core reality of a society that has been built around the needs of profit rather than those of human beings resulted in the CEO, the gate agents, the police, United Airlines in general viewing this man not as a human being, but a mere customer who had inconvenienced the profiteers.

The incident exposed the true and violent nature of US society. Human decency and compassion conflict with the profit motive.
It also exposed the fallacy of law enforcement as regular folks that are just doing their jobs.

If they were like most of us they would have stopped and said, ‘there has to be a better way to handle this situation.’ If they were just like us (as the propaganda would have us believe) they would have said to themselves I wouldn’t want anyone to force me out of a seat that I purchased. If they operated just like us, they would have seen Dr. Dao as they would their own relative, they would have said I wouldn’t want my grandparent to be dragged down an airplane aisle.

But they aren’t just like us they are programmed to view the world as us vs them. So they dragged a helpless old man down an airplane aisle like he was a piece of trash because the needs of capital dictated it. Note that after it’s been made obvious to the world that they were wrong the Chicago airport cops are pretending the man busted his own lip: he resisted.

But, after all that is their job is not to enforce the rules of decency, but the dictates that govern the profiteers.

And the gate agents succumbed to an us vs them mentality that allowed them to identify with the needs of their bosses, rather than the needs of a human being.

Check out what the leader of the Flight Attendants Union Sara Nelson had to say. She applauded Munoz saying “When something like this happens and people have to go to work and have order in their workplace to keep everyone safe, it can be incredibly demoralizing,” she said. “Some credit needs to be given to him.”

Her response was not only tone deaf, but it revealed how much the union bureaucracy identifies with their bosses.

But thank goodness that the passengers humanity kicked in and they screamed their disapproval as human beings should have. They let it be known that this was not proper despite the needs of Big Business.

Ultimately we have to resist our programming and not just voice our approval but stand in the aisles, block their path and say no not today.

justice then peace

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