Those of you who have read the same books I have are probably looking around you today and seeing things in a slightly more sinister light. A bill passed today with a small, un-discussed rider attached: the Real ID bill. This bill is essentially a National ID Card disguised as a driver’s license.
Opposition in the ‘sphere and even popular media has been quite open, including at least one ‘write your rep’ webpage. The bill was hidden into a ‘must pass’ funds allocation to support our troops, so it wasn’t even discussed on the floor, despite the fact that it failed rather quickly the first time it was submitted on it’s own. Near as anyone can figure, the Real ID clause was added to repay a favor to one particular politician.
The most vocal of the bill’s opponents in the ‘sphere makes one point that I disagree with, but the rest of his reasoning is sound. The bill, as written, sucks major ass and will make things worse for every citizen in the USA. I wholeheartedly believe this.
(The point we disagree on is the part that says illegal immigrants will not be able to get this new driver’s license; the author believes this means the illegals will be driving without licenses which somehow makes them more dangerous. A driver’s license is used as legal ID for just about everything, so illegals get them as a ‘gateway document’ which makes it easier to osmos into the system. I don’t think you should be able to get a license without a valid green card or visa.)
Back to the reading. Many future-fiction writers have written of post- or near-appocalyptic America where citizens are required to have their ‘papers’ with them at all times or face punishment by a corrupt and tyrannical government of some sort. The prelude to this government coming to power has always been a steady path: civil liberties are slowly eroded until the citizenry have lost their right (and will) to do anything about the fact that the government has turned them into subjects instead of citizens.
Society is polarized into the rich and the poor, with no middle ground. The poorest citizen with an ID card, however, is still far better off than the ‘unlicensed’ or ‘shadow denizens’ who lurk on the outside of society. They have no access to health care without ID, no access to public assistance, no way to get a job legally. This atmosphere breeds a new level of crime, one where any average person may suddenly and irrevocably find themselves doing anything just to survive. Desperation is rampant.
On top of this, these authors also almost universally discuss how a ‘meltdown in the Middle East’ led to some form of armed (and usually nuclear) conflict has depleted the world’s oil reserves, throwing us into an economic slump not seen since Black Tuesday. Multiple wars break out in the aftermath as the superpowers struggle to lay claim to as many resources as they can to fend off the coming dark age…
So. Here we are today. A terrorist attack makes us paranoid about our security, and our civil liberties are being eroded. We have a war in the Middle East. Gas is almost $2.50 a gallon. You do the math.
Paranoid? Moi? Read on to decide. Read the rest of this entry »