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We’re the country we criticize around the world

April 14, 2017 - 12:05am

Finally, in a third statement two days too late made after United Airlines lost millions in stock market value, CEO Oscar Munoz got around to appropriately apologizing for the “truly horrific” forced removal of a passenger from a full flight.

“I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard,” Munoz said in a statement Tuesday. “No one should ever be mistreated this way.”

In his last two tries, the executive only managed to increase by another decibel the outrage unleashed by passenger videos showing Dr. David Dao — bloodied from banging his face on an armrest when a Chicago aviation security officer forced him out of his paid seat — being dragged down the aisle, his glasses askew, his shirt pulled up, leaving his torso exposed.

All this because United wanted to give his seat to a commuting crew member and, because the airline wasn’t offering enough compensation for people to give up their seats, there weren’t enough volunteers.

Dao was chosen at random to be expelled, and with that act of mismanagement, his humanity and any rights to dignity became the property of the airline. He and everyone in his vicinity lost their privacy, too, as passengers whipped out their cellphones and recorded his fate from every angle.

If this were an isolated case, we might turn the page, wish Dr. Dao a speedy recovery and a whopping settlement, and move on.

But it’s not.

The degradation of passengers seems to be part of a new dictatorial customer service philosophy in a country that is lowering the bar in so many aspects of life, from the political to the personal.

Passengers are being removed from flights for all sorts of ridiculous reasons that infringe on personal freedoms.

People who speak a language other than English and look Arab have been removed from Delta and Southwest flights because they made another passenger uncomfortable. Two Muslim-American women, one of them a journalist for Voice of America, were ordered off an American Airlines flight in Miami last summer after a flight attendant said their conversation about the lack of food and water on the plane made him uncomfortable.

Hence, the expression “flying while Muslim” is now part of the American lexicon, another example of all-American prejudice. Female passengers, on the other hand, have been targeted for wearing clothing deemed too revealing or too casual. We’re becoming the countries we criticize around the world.

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