Coming to a dystopia near you

Ron Soltys

Michael Chertoff, head of the Department of Homeland Security, is trying to push his Real ID nonsense before he’s booted out of office.

Despite his claims that this won’t lead toward a national database, he’s essentially just linking smaller databases not calling it a national database. In a post-Sept. 11 world, it has become far too common that the government decides to do something to make it look like they’re getting things done when they aren’t really getting anything done at all.

The rationale behind this national system of American citizens is that it might somehow keep terrorists from getting on planes. I’m not sure how identification will give the government the kind of credentials they will need to separate any ne’er-do-wells in an airport.

Criminals might have a history of crime, but I seriously doubt a suicide bomber will have a record of suicide bombings or terrorism. All the hijackers from Sept. 11 were all legal citizens and carrying legitimate identification.

These Real IDs (as opposed to Fake IDs, clever) basically set up guidelines for states to make “legitimate” identification for people to travel throughout the country and enter federal buildings. If your state happens to be one of the many that has rejected the act, then you’ll have to pay for a passport to even get on a plane. It’s expensive, it’s invasive to citizens and, as an open society, it seems unnecessary to implement.

Proving who you are in some situations is already a mind-numbing task as it is; what is so infallible about this Real ID? They state it will help deter illegal citizens from faking identification and that it would keep criminals from being able to commit identity theft. Isn’t having a national database going to make it a little easier to commit identity theft if they know what they’re doing? Shouldn’t the government be more worried about how they keep accidentally exposing citizens’ data in terms of the security of our identities?

Passports are expensive and take weeks to get. If you expedite the process, they become ridiculously expensive. This whole Real ID solves nothing — it continues a long trend of stupid and pointless implementations that will make the already arduous task of getting on an airplane that much more of a headache.

I hope the ACLU drags this through the dirt and, if enough states reject it, they will just have to rebuild from the ground up.

My wallet is already stuffed with a myriad of identifications, each of them being utilized at different checkpoints of necessity. Current licenses might run the risk of being faked, but how long will it take people to find out a way to fake these new IDs? I just honestly get a headache when I read about the latest bits and pieces of nonsense coming out of the Department of Homeland Security.

America wasn’t always such a dreary place, but now it’s all Jack Bauer breaking laws to save our lives; what would we do if it weren’t for the caring government? I look forward to being questioned in airports, glanced at suspiciously, “Where are you going? For how long?”

Ron Soltys is one of those civil rights jerks. Tell him if he doesn’t like it, he should get out at [email protected].