My Email to My Representatives:
Why This Conservative Tennessean Opposes REAL ID:
1. REAL ID is a de facto national identification card. At least Lamar Alexander, in recent comments, was honest enough to admit this. Has America sacrificed so much for freedom only to create a “papers please” society?
2. REAL ID does an end-run around the 4th Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
It is unreasonable to give the central government the power (potential) to track individuals in real-time. If the government needs to search the lives of citizens, let it get a search warrant. We should not have to be monitered. Is not this the essence of freedom? REAL ID, and its future additions, will make life subject to the good-will of the government in a software maze of “red light, green light.” This is not freedom.
3. REAL ID reduces God-given rights of the individual to a string of digits, subject to the good-will of software and/or bureaucrats. It makes Americans get “permission” to live and move in the basic functions of society: banking and travel. The permission we need to do this (and more) is God-given. We shouldn’t have to ask permission to be functioning citizens within our own country.
4. REAL ID may require biometrics at the state level or at the federal level. Why should Americans be “booked” like criminals even if they’ve committed no crime?
5. REAL ID compiles personal information into one place. With the ease of internet access, this information is vulnerable to anyone on the globe with the ability to hack.
6. REAL ID is a move towards the centalization of more power. In an age of terror, the country should operate on a philosophy of de-centralizing as much of our lives as possible--so that if an attack handicaps one part of the country, the rest of the country can still function.
7. The burden of proof lies on the promoters of REAL ID: Show us exactly HOW this significantly new and immense power to the government is NOT a threat to freedom. FREEDOMS ARE LOST IN THEORY/PHILOSOPHY LONG BEFORE THEY’RE LOST IN PRACTICE. Conservatives are threatening freedom and promoting “big government” with the REAL ID Act.
8. We should be moving away from an identification society. This kind of atmosphere promotes suspicion and fear. Are Americans innocent until proven guilty, or are we suspicious until properly identified? The presumption of innocence is undermined by REAL ID.
9. Programs like REAL ID never remain static. The private sector will seek to use this identification system as well. One bad application will lead to others. How can we remain an “open” society with this kind of philosophy?
10. Some folks say we already have a national id--Social Security. But if REAL ID is only a lateral move, why are we doing it? We are doing it because it is indeed an increase in the government’s ability to track its citizens. If we’re on the wrong road, the soonest way to progress is to turn around.
We don’t have to do anything stupid. Just because we “can” doesn’t mean we “should.”