I was born in Texas in a tin top house with no indoor plumbing, gas, or electricity. Circumstances demanded a certain measure of self reliance. There were government schools but they were a far cry from what they are today. Even Bible was taught in public schools in those years.
Given that background, you can imagine my reaction to the over-reaction of the bureaucrats to 9/11. We had a saying that there is no sense closing the gate after the calf has left the pen. It was one of those East Texas truisms like; wherever you go, there you are. It described the government reaction to 9/11 perfectly.
Suddenly, we could not board a commercial flight if we had a dangerous pair of fingernail clippers. The image of a Muslim charging down the aisle brandishing a pair of fingernail clippers horrified us all! Minor bureaucrats were asserting themselves and their new found authority and treating the public like we were all criminals. Of course, anyone with a lick of sense knew that the airlines should be in charge of security rather than government. After all, the airlines have the vested interest and the cost would be passed along to the traveling public instead of further burdening the taxpayer. Private concerns can apply a measure of common sense whereas government bureaucrats can only be responsive to their charter. (Rules created by politically correct committees.)
It took the bureaucrats in the gargantuan Homeland Security Department several years to figure out that it is unlikely that anyone could hi-jack a commercial airplane using a pair of fingernail clippers. But in reaction to new threats they had us taking our shoes off and tossing our bottles of water in the nearest trash container. And, of course there is National ID. Our altruistic masters really just have our best interest at heart. Yeah, right.
But, time marches on and now we face the problems of flow down. As an example, the State of New Mexico supposedly notifies its residents when their driver's license is about to expire. I either missed it or they fell off the trolley. And earlier when I had registered for one I paid for several years. I remember at the time wondering if I would live long enough to have to re-register. Armed with this disposition I just went about my business until one day I happened to notice that the license had expired over two months earlier. God had granted me those several years and two months more.
But now it was post 9/11 so I had no idea what was in store for me when I went down to the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division to re-register. I approached the counter and handed over the expired license expecting to take the eye exam and pay the fee for another several year period that I was pretty sure I would not survive this time. At this point, and in rather vague terms, I was informed that I no longer existed.
The clerk had the expired license. It had my picture on it and the address was current. She could see me. It really was me even though the picture was the typical ugly representation usually found on licenses. But I was ugly, and it was a clear match. I felt a little like the actor Karl Bruck in the movie Paint Your Wagon. After an outburst during a town meeting he was told that he had not been recognized. Incredulous, he turned to the group and said, "I'm Schermerhorn!"
It seems now that to prove that I exist I have to bring in my Texas Birth Certificate from the year 1934 along with my Social Security Card and utility bills or other evidence of residency. I left wondering if I had heard these instructions correctly. Can it be that the State of New Mexico does not trust their own license issued several years earlier with my picture on it? It seems so.
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