Maybe because I don't have a dog in this fight and seldom fly I am thinking we are feeling sorry for the wrong people for the wrong reasons here! There are two people involved in these little docudramas, the "pattor" and the "pattee"!
The next time you find yourself in the boarding call waiting area look around at your fellow travelers and pick at least three whom you would like to stand face-to-face with and whose armpit, cleavage and crotch you would be willing to stick your hand into, even if it was gloved.
I'm not surprised that some travelers, finding this procedure embarrassing and degrading, are in revolt. I'm also not surprised that the pattors are not. They cannot afford to revolt. They need the job.
So I guess my sympathy leans toward the pattor charged with conducting the pat downs in the face of crappy verbal abuse, jokes that would make you cringe and the contempt of people who ought to know better...or at least behave better.