Thursday, September 22, 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. Its 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 allseeing, 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. Its OK that all of our personal lives, our bank accounts, records of books weve read and videos weve 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 of 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 its because Congress knows full well that the American people are overwhelmingly opposed to being boxed in like this.
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 drivers 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 arent 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 then?
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 see 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.
? Tom DeWeese 2005