Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The DMV - A Sign of America's Decline

Actually, the signs of a declining nation are all over the place.  The Department of Motor Vehicles has long been in the forefront of the looming demise.  It's everything that is bad about government, partially on the local level.  It's a dreadful place to encounter with long lines and featuring surly or uncaring employees (not to mention clueless--a DMV worker once asked a friend that was seeking additional information if she was trying do something illegal!).  In recent days it has come to be a metaphor and leading edge for the surveillance state with the amount of personal information one has to provide in order to get a driver's license which is cumbersome and largely without merit.  It's more evidence that the government is afraid of the people.  Terrified actually.  They view us as potential criminal suspects in everything we do and we have to endlessly prove our innocence to them.

I understand the need for security.  After all, a DL is the main ID used to get on an airplane.  But do we need to be North Korea?  I'm reminded of the great quote of Ben Franklin, which I paraphrase here, that those who give up liberty for security will have neither.  He was absolutely right and it's happening now before our very eyes.  I am sure the Founders would convict us being traitors to the cause of Liberty or simply mad with greater love for bread and circuses.

Show Us Your Papers!
The roots of this is the passing of the Real ID Act of 2005.  Currently 21 states are in compliance (see below).  Florida is one of those states.  Four pieces of authentication are needed to get a driver's license in this state.

As follows:

1.  Proof of Citizenship
2.  Proof of Social Security Number
3.  Two proofs of Residential Address

These documents are scanned and go into the Big Brother database in the sky.

As described on the state of Florida's Gather Go Get web site, this can be a combination documents. For example proof of Social Security can be either a SS card or a W2 or 1099 form.  Proof of Citizenship can be a certified birth certificate (state issued and not from the hospital of birth) or a passport.  Unfortunately, if you are renewing your license you can’t use your current license as verification for anything.

The most peculiar requirement is the two documents needed for confirmation of a valid residence.  I find this the most egregious as one should be good enough and it’s another unnecessary hassle for the average citizen.  This is a good example of governmental bureaucratic nonsense.  Just how sneaky are the American people anyway?  Most of us are honest folk.  But not from any government agency’s perspective.

But it gets even worse!  To be all encompassing and I suppose helpful to all they have provided various ways that the homeless and the convicted felons can get their license as well.  First the homeless.  If you are residing in a homeless shelter you can get proof of residency by getting the director of the shelter to verify that you stay there.  But wait just a minute...if you can't afford a place to live on your own, how are you going to afford a car, with its extra expenses for gas, maintenance and insurance?  And even after that, the homeless person will still need a second proof of residency.  Where do they get that from?  All of the documents listed most homeless people most likely won't have, and many involved owning something such as a hunting or fishing license, mortgage documents, voter registration card and so on.  These are people out of mainstream society.  It makes no sense but people in government seem to process little of it anyway, in their need for ultimate access for all.

Next the felons.  In this case, convicted sexual offenders whose names and addresses are kept file by the FDLE (Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement).  With a written request one can get proof of residency.  Wonderful!  A convicted felon and sexual deviant can use proof of being registered with the state for their crimes and use that to get a driver’s license.  Nothing like being open minded and non-judgmental!

Meanwhile, the illegals are running around here with nothing.  In many ways the illegal aliens are the freest people in America.  They hardly need any permits or licenses to do anything.  I know one personally that has been in America over a decade.  He's never had a driver's license.  His wife is legal so she provides for the title, tag and insurance.

I've been a registered driver in the state of Florida for over 30 years.  Which by the way, proves I've been a resident of the state and the county of Volusia as well, but it doesn't matter to them.  I'll never be grandfathered in.  I’m just not special enough.

Life at the End of Empire
So here we are, witnessing the growing encroachment of the State on our lives and liberties and we just go along with it.  For how long are people going to put up with this?   I think it's well past time we did more civil disobedience.  Fight their absurdity with absurdity.  If a home owner's association says you can't grow a garden in your backyard, simply tell them that you have no idea how that garden got there in the first place or deny that one even exists.  See how they handle it.  It's no more absurd that what they do.

Addendum  12.31.13

States in compliance with Real ID Act: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

States not in compliance:   Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Marianas, Oklahoma, and Washington State.

States not mentioned are on the path to compliance.

Remember, if your state does not comply by 2016, you will not be allowed to use your driver's license from your state as ID to board a flight in the USA.