“Your Papers Please!”

Is that what we’re going to be asked as we cross state lines some time in the near future??
An article in the National Herald Tribune about yesterday’s passage by Congress of the “landmark bill to restructure the Intelligence community,” includes the following detail of that legislation that I wonder how many people noticed:
uniform national standards for issuing driver’s licenses
Well that sounds pretty innocuous, doesn’t it?
Want to speculate on what that might actually mean? This site does, and, if they’re right (and I don’t know whether they are or not; do you?) our government will be echoing even more of Nazi Germany’s control tactics than they are already.
The article on the “What Does It Mean” site has this assessment:
In a chilling act more reminiscent of the now defunct Soviet Union or the Nazi regime of Adolph Hitler, the United States Congress passed legislation yesterday that requires the States to surrender their regulatory rights over driver’s licenses and birth certificates to The Department of Homeland Security
Beginning in 2005, the Department of Homeland Security will issue new uniformity regulations to the States requiring that all Drivers Licenses and Birth Certificates meet minimal Federal Standards with regard to US citizen information, including biometric security provisions.
Added to currently existing Federal Laws and Supreme Court rulings American citizens when born will be issued a Social Security Number that will be included on their Birth Certificates, along with DNA biometric markers. All birth certificates will also be registered in a Federal Government database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. No child will be allowed enrollment to schools or be entitled to either State of Federal Government benefits programs without first presenting a certified Homeland Security registered Birth Certificate.
Drivers Licenses will also contain DNA biometric markers and include the holders Social Security Number and be required for receiving and applying for all State and Federal benefits programs. Previous Supreme Court rulings have also upheld State and Federal Law Enforcement authorities right to request Identification from any American citizen, for any reason and at any time as not being violations of their, the citizens, constitutionally protected rights
Also included in this bill is a law to require The Department of Homeland Security to establish a separate ID system for citizens to use prior to boarding airplanes, and which is eerily reminiscent of the Soviet and Nazi regimes dreaded Internal Passport.
Never before in our history have the words of Benjamin Franklin been so correct when he stated: “people willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both”…….

Credit card companies are reported to like the idea because it will help to prevent fraud and identity theft.
There’s a part of me that also likes the idea of no one being able to steal my identity (not that I can imagine anyone who would want to), and since I shun anonymity and my life is, as they say, an open book, anyway, I don’t feel terribly threatened by my DNA being in some central file along with my eye color, hair color, and weight (the last four of which can be altered, as we all know).
I’m also pretty sure that’s what the honest German citizens thought.
But this is the age of weblogs and hyperlinks and not Morse Code. This is the age of online buying, selling, and shipping rather than “cash and carry.” The age of satellite surveillance and smart bombs and a complex universe of more than just a couple of innocent and supermoral superheroes that the Americans of the 40s could fantasize about.
Maybe the capacity of this technological world to obfuscate the boundaries among facts, fictions, and fantasies, blur the distinctions between countries and cultures, necessitates that we keep some record of who we each officially are as individuals.
If we were a true democracy here in America, if we were a nation dedicated to creating peace instead of waging war — if we truly valued ethical behavior and moral courage — if our leaders were honorable individuals who governed with big hearts instead of big heads —
Who am I kidding. We would have to have an awful lot of trust in our government to believe that they wouldn’t find a way to misuse the data they collect about us all.
And trust in our government is something that we lost along with our national innocence as a result of 9/11.
Just make sure you don’t lose those papers.

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