Friday, May 22, 2009

Real ID in doubt for many

from St. Joe

Some of the most ardent opponents of a national identity card — the Real ID — are among the most patriotic, trustworthy and loyal-to-their-country folks around.

State Rep. Jim Guest, R-King City, and others like him are the kind of people who score all A’s in government class. They salute the flag and would fight to defend it. They actually have read the Constitution, thought about it and formed opinions based on it.

In brief, they put more trust in the rights that the Constitution guarantees than they do in politicians, bureaucrats and whoever happens to be contemplating infringing on their rights at this current moment in history.

And yet, Rep. Guest (not your average politician, to be sure) and those who support him do not want to overthrow the government. They accept the rule of law, the need for some government regulations and the idea that government can be a means for good. But they draw the line on certain things, quickly and decisively.

One of these is the notion that the federal government’s Real ID national driver’s license initiative is harmless and necessary to ward off terrorists. These opponents see the mandate as a threat to states’ rights and to the right to privacy.

They also reject the notion that just because Missouri has not signed on to the Real ID, somehow our state’s residents will be denied the opportunity to board an airplane or enter government buildings. They believe it never will come to that, nor should it.

The crux of their convincing argument is that the security of Missouri driver’s licenses was greatly increased in 2005, when new rules required drivers to provide birth certificates for new IDs or renewals.

Rep. Guest and his supporters won a 32-0 vote in the state Senate and an 83-69 vote in the state House. All that remains is for Gov. Jay Nixon to add his signature, and Missouri will become the 13th state in the nation to bar officials from adopting the national driver’s license standards.

Federal authorities will be disappointed, but sometimes the easy way to do something is not the best way. Just because someone thought it was a good idea to go around the states in forcing a federal ID card on the general population — by way of driver’s licenses — doesn’t make it right.

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