Friday, May 6, 2011

Just Where Are We Now?

I got a little postcard from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles a few weeks ago, reminding me it's been eight years since I last had my picture taken, and that I had to go renew my driver's license in person.
So I headed over to the North Decatur Boulevard DMV on Wednesday. Filled out the form. Passed the eye test. Provided my residence address, now mandatory for police wishing to kick in our doors at night. (For 18 years my license bore only my P.O. box, all they need to send me my renewal notices.) Then the lady at the desk spoke up.
"Your name doesn't match," she said.
"Doesn't match what?"
"Your name doesn't match."
We went around on that one long enough to change partners and allemande left. Apparently, she was comparing my license data to a Social Security database.
"All that matches is the date of birth," she said.
"As you can see," I said, "the name on my driver's license -- the one I've been using without a problem for 18 years -- is 'Vin Suprynowicz.' But the Social Security database may still be showing my birth name, the same name that appears here on my original 1965 Social Security card," I said, sliding it across the desk at her. "That card was issued to 'Vincent Anthony Suprynowicz Jr.' That's also the name listed on these two pieces of identification," I said, presenting her with my draft registration card and my Selective Service Notice of Classification.
"Those are no good," she said. "The name doesn't match."
"Here's my current driver's license, with my picture on it, which you people issued," I said. "You can't see that's me?"
"You're going to have to go to the Social Security Administration and have them change your name, or else bring in your birth certificate or a passport or your immigration documents," she said.
I asked to speak to a supervisor. One Sheri Olsen, who is paid $49,614 per year plus amazing benefits for the job of refusing to renew valid driver's licenses for native-born Americans with an unusually large number of authentic identification documents, was finally located to (of course) repeat the same lunacy.
"Your name doesn't match," she said.
Why was this never a problem before? Especially when Franklin Roosevelt swore up and down that our Social Security numbers would always remain confidential between us and the single appropriate federal agency -- never to be used for purposes of identification the way the Nazis did?
"It's because of 9/11," she said.
So I'm trying to imagine a scenario under which some member of al-Qaida is showing up at the North Decatur DMV, seeking to renew a Nevada driver's license which he's had for 18 years, with his plainly recognizable photo on it, because doing so will somehow further his plans to blow up skyscrapers. But, fortunately, he's being foiled by this Sheri Olsen, who won't let him renew his driver's license because no one in their right mind could imagine someone who now calls himself "Vin Suprynowicz" could possibly be the person born in New Haven, Conn., all those years ago, named at the time "Vincent Suprynowicz."
The documents this Sheri Olsen rejected were accepted for re-entry by U.S. Customs and Immigration a few years back when I flew to Canada to give a speech, trusting the airline that told me I didn't need my passport.
Still, Ms. Olsen is insisting, "You're going to have to go to the Social Security office and have your name changed."
"I don't want my name changed. I like my name just fine. You can issue the license in either name. Issue it as 'Vincent Anthony Suprynowicz Jr.,' if that'll make you happy, or as 'Vin Suprynowicz,' whichever."
"You're telling me there are, what, 20,000 illegal Mexicans driving around this town with fake driver's licenses that they bought at the local swap meet, and no one ever arrests them when they show these bogus pieces of crap, but I can't renew an 18-year-old driver's license because for 30 years I've been going by 'Vin' instead of 'Vincent'?"
"We don't care to discuss your political views," Olsen said.
She really said that.
So, no driver's license for me.
I called the city of New Haven. They'll sell me a copy of my birth certificate. It will take four to six weeks by mail, or I can go in person, Monday through Friday. It's only 2,000 miles away.
What we are dealing with, here, is a national ID. The folks in Washington said they'd dropped plans to impose one. Instead, they've just ordered the states to do it -- despite the fact the Constitutional grants the central government no power to meddle in such state functions.
There are two -- and only two -- other people allowed to go to the New Haven Office of Vital Statistics to buy a copy of my birth certificate: my parents. What better example of the infantilization of the populace than to make me call my Mommy? As I write this, my 85-year-old mother is in downtown New Haven -- a 90-minute drive from where she lives -- to buy me the document this Sheri Olsen insists on seeing before she'll believe I'm me.
What do people do if their parents have not survived into their 80s?
It's offensive even having to go to the DMV. Commercial freight hauling may be an excisable activity, but merely traveling on the public roads is a right, not a privilege. From whom did George Washington have to beg the "privilege" of riding his horse from Virginia to Boston in 1775?
A once free people, we only seek to pay "our" taxes and obey the law, jumping through the ever-greater assemblage of hoops set out for us. Yet now we are increasingly lined up, numbered and humiliated by a police state so perverse it punishes only those who try to obey the laws, until we are treated as aliens in our own land, while the invaders receive protection from the police who should be arresting them as they march in our streets with their foreign flags, demanding to have our immigration laws overturned while collecting checks from our government.
Do the bureaucrats really think there will never be a price to pay?

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