Re: ID CARDS
AMERICAN LIFE UNDER A NATIONAL ID CARD
By Tom DeWeese
September 20, 2005
"If you have done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to fear from
these surveillance policies in the Patriot Act." There it was - the
one line that is continually uttered by those who are determined to
turn America into the society of Big Brother. It's the one line that
will instantly bring out my own urge to kill anyone who has said it.
My patience has run paper thin for such short-sighted, quivering,
knee-jerk reactionaries who are willing to sacrifice our precious
liberties for some false sense of momentary security.
Now, during a radio interview on the subject, sitting in my office on
the opposite end of the telephone, I heard it said by my host. I had
been feeling the frustration growing throughout the interview as he
dismissed my fears of an all-seeing, controlling government that can
invade my own home without a search warrant or even a court order
issued by a real judge. To him it was perfectly fine to pat down
little old ladies and children in airports, while those fitting the
profile of a terrorist could walk by, protected by political
correctness. It's OK that all of our personal lives, our bank
accounts, records of books we've read and videos we've rented could be
searched. And above all, to him, the greatest idea yet devised for
protecting freedom in this nation was the creation of a national ID
card. "Now," he said, "we can control who comes in to this nation,
where they go and who they are dealing with." "And if you have done
nothing wrong you have nothing to fear!"
I lost it."Have you any idea what living under a national ID card will
be like? Have you given it the slightest thought beyond your own
selfish, primal fear of some unstated threat," I shouted into the
telephone and over the airways. "Well, I spend a majority of my time
looking into this issue and let me tell you what I've found to be
true. And then, you tell me if this will be a nation you want to live
in." It was surprising to me that my host let me talk at this point.
Perhaps the murderous tone in my voice warned him to stay quiet.
Nevertheless, he let me continue.
"The Real ID bill that has just passed Congress and will establish a
national ID card within the next 18 months will transform all state
motor vehicle departments into agents of the federal government. They
have now been told to install a high tech computer chip into every
single drivers license in every single state. That chip will be used
to carry either a finger print or voice print. It will be used to
track almost every single transaction made by every single American,
including buying guns, using credit cards, buying gas, getting on an
airplane or a train."
"Oh, yes," I said, "I know what you're going to say next. Your ilk
always says it. "So what. If that keeps me safe, it's OK." "Well," I
continued, "consider how those ID cards will be used. Without one, you
won't be able to get on a plane or a train. You will be denied all
government services. You will not be able to open a bank account. You
will be literally shut out or American society."
"And all the time the federal government has been passing this law
mandating a national ID card - it vigorously denies it is doing it.
It's not mandatory, they tell us. It's all voluntary. It's just that
without the approved card you can't use government services. Why have
they lied?" Perhaps it's because Congress knows full well that the
American people are overwhelmingly opposed to being boxed in like
"But still you say, if you haven't done anything wrong, so what."
"Well," I shouted, "I'll tell you so what." "Once this system is set
up, you as an American no longer have control of your life. That will
now fall under the whim of any government official or bureaucrat that
controls the data in your file." "Do you know how much information
currently in government data files is incorrect," I asked. Then I
answered my own question; "Over 25 percent. Underpaid, undereducated
government employees are paid to input information into massive data
banks. They make mistakes." "Have you ever tried to get credit, only
to find a mistake on your credit report," I asked. "Have you ever
tried to fix it? Now take that experience and consider what happens
when such mistakes block you from accessing your checking account so
you can't buy groceries. Consider what might happen if a mistake puts
a false arrest warrant under your name. How do you prove you're the
wrong guy? How do you get it fixed? Now you have no money, no driver's
license. No ability to travel. You are completely cut out of society.
What do you do now?"
"And to make it even worse", I said, really warming up to the subject,
"what would happen if you actually made someone in the government mad
at you and that person had the power to mess with your records? What
if things that are legal now are illegal in the future? It happens.
Governments change. New laws are made. Drugs were once legal in this
country and they aren't now. Guns are now - but may not be in the
future. It used to be perfectly legal to protect your private property
from trespassers. It isn't now. Do you ever pay cash for something so
that the transaction isn't recorded? They are out to stop that. Laws
change. Now tell me, if the laws change and you are tied to a national
ID and total government surveillance, how long until you suddenly have
something to hide from an all seeing government?" "Will you be so smug
"And," I finally concluded, "the sorriest part of your eagerness to
abandon liberty for a chance to be safe from the big bad terrorists.
none of these intrusions into American life will do a bloody thing to
protect you. Within five minutes of the issuing of a government
national ID card there will be counterfeits on the streets and a black
market emerging to sell them to any pirate, illegal immigrant or
terrorist in need. So we will lose our freedoms for nothing."
Finally, I took a breath. There was silence on the other end of the
phone. Dead air time. I felt this interview had come to an end, so I
just finished by saying, "if that's the kind of nation you want to
live in, there are plenty of totalitarian societies which can provide
you with all the sadomasochistic torment you desire to satisfy your
need for pain and control. Please leave America for the rest of us who
want to be free." "As for you, this interview is over."