|The Surreal ID Card Act and HB 2677
I want to personally thank all of our Arizona legislators who sponsored and/or supported of HB 2677 which prevents Arizona from participating in the Real ID Card Act implementation process. The legislative sponsors of HB 2677 are listed at the bottom of the page. There can be no question that the Real ID Card is a real and present danger to every American who would be foolish enough to possess one.
If the average citizen is not concerned with the soon-to-be required national ID card, then they should carefully consider the role that ID cards have played in the history of human persecutions within the 20th century. The prevalence of national ID cards should concern all persons who are mindful about preventing a future national genocide similar to what happened in Rwanda and in Nazi Germany
In Nazi Germany (July 1938), only a few months before Kristallnacht (i.e., the night of the broken glass) in which Jewish businesses were targeted by the infamous "Brown Shirts" for destruction, the notorious "J-stamp" was introduced on national ID cards and then later on passports. The use of the "J-stamp" ID cards by Nazi Germany preceded the yellow Star of David badges which led to the subsequent deportation of Gypsies, Jews, homosexuals and political dissidents to the infamous Nazi death camps. In Norway, where yellow cloth badges were not introduced, the J stamped ID card was used in the identification of more than 800 Jews deported to death camps in Eastern Europe.
Identification cards, in Rwanda, were the key factor in shaping, defining and perpetuating ethnic identity and subsequent ethnic cleansing. Once the 1994 genocide in Rwanda began, an ID card with the designation "Tutsi" constituted a death sentence at any checkpoint. No other factor was more significant in facilitating the speed and carnage of the 100 days of mass killing in Rwanda.
The Real ID national identity card must contain "physical security features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes." This provision potentially opens the door to some very frightening set of additional requirements, such as a fingerprint or retinal scans. What the Homeland Security provisions will entail for the ID card is unknown at this time. What is known is that Homeland Security has essentially been given a blank check to enact some very draconian security and enforcement procedures.
Of course, the discussion of this bill was held in the full view of the public, correct? Well, not exactly. The bill was passed as a rider on a military appropriations bill with very little fanfare or media coverage. Proponents of the Real ID Card Act state that such a citizen identification measure is needed to protect us from terrorist incursions which ostensibly threaten our safety and well-being. Recent polls suggest that as many as 65% of all Americans have not heard of the Real ID Card Act. Presumably, even a higher percentage of Americans fail to understand the provisions of the act. And even fewer understand what this law could potentially mean to the loss of civil liberties. If this act is so good for America, why haven't more Americans heard of it? Why wasn't this act a clearly delineated topic for constitutional/legal debate held in the full view of the mainstream American press?
At an anticipated cost of $11 billion dollars, individual driver's licenses will be reissued in order to fully meet federal standards. At a minimum, the cards will contain your name, birth date, gender, a National ID number, a digital photograph, address, and a common machine-readable technology that Homeland Security will decide upon at some future date. However, the Department of Homeland Security is given the final say as to what may appear on your national ID card. This type of discretion opens a Pandora's Box as to the specific categorizations which characterized Nazi Germany and Rwanda ID cards. Perhaps we do not have to worry about our own senior, snowy haired senator, Hillary or Obama as becoming Orwellian enough to make this their legislative end game. However, do we really want to open this door for a future despot? This is precisely why we have a constitution and why the preservation of the separation of powers was so important to the founding fathers. Do not let Washington violate the tenants of federalism and intimidate you with the loss of federal funds for failing to comply with their unconstitutional mandates. Let Washington keep their highway funds. Let the federal government keep us off airplanes, out of banks and out of federal buildings. When the country is paralyzed because we will not submit to this tyranny, the supporters of the Real ID Card will be swept from office with the force of a mega tsunami. .
At the very least, legislation creating an identity card should have been carefully defined and should have limited the persons who would have access to such information and provide means of segregating information that unauthorized persons would not need to see. The Real ID Card Act does not provide these protections to American citizens. Even if access were carefully circumscribed, computer databases could still be vulnerable to hackers. Harvard educated, Dr. Katherine Albrecht (www.spychips.com), very carefully details how a national ID card could lead to an unprecedented wave of identity theft through a hacker's ability to scan the chip and download your personal information (so much for the argument that this will create a tamper-proof identity card which will greatly aid in the fight against illegal immigration). And don't forget the provision of this act which allows Homeland Security to enact any measures to "prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes". How will Homeland Security respond to the threat of identity theft? Will Americans be forced to accept an implanted RFID chip in our hands or foreheads? On this point, I wish I could say that I am being factitious.
Benjamin Franklin once said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." After all, if the first casualty on the war on terror is the constitution, then we have already lost the war.
If we are going to save America from becoming a police state, in the name of providing security from the shadowy forces we call terrorists, the fight to preserve our freedoms will have to be waged at the local level. Thank you for your willingness to be a freedom-loving American. And if these historical and constitutional arguments have not been enough to convince the average person about the dangers of the Real ID Card Act, then one should consider that it clearly constitutes an unfunded federal mandate at a time when Arizona legislators have no margin for error when it comes to crafting our next fiscal budget within the confines of a declining economy.