And just exactly what had Deborah done to get this emotionally detached old lady into such a replay of emotions left over from 1938 Nazi Germany? It was the gut-wrenching realization that the Nazi Police State in which I was raised has come back to roost in the United States.
Deborah, who commutes by bus in Denver, Colorado, had been asked to present her I.D. to a man in uniform. If she didnt, she was told, it would mean walking several miles to her job. So, she complied, but, it rankled. Deborah knew that, unless she was being a danger to self or others, behaving irrationally, or drunk and disorderly, no one had the right to ask for her identification. As long as she was sitting quietly in her seat, she could not be arbitrarily asked for ID. (Shed learned that in her 8th grade Civics class, where she had also been taught about police states, and how casually they usurped the rights of their citizenry.)
And so it went. For several weeks, when asked to show ID, Deborah refused, and, when asked if she were getting off at the Denver Federal Center she said, no was left in peace, completing her bus trips right on schedule.
And it was not a gentle arrest. As she relates on her website http://www.papersplease.org/davis/facts.html
" 'Grab her' was the shout, and with the police wrenching her arms behind her back, she was jerked out of her seat, handcuffed, thrown into a police cruiser, rushed off to the police station inside the Center, where cops had a bit of difficulty deciding with what to charge her. So they wrote up a couple of tickets (contents unknown) took off her cuffs, and told her that if she ever entered that Center again, shed go to jail." No more bus commutes for Deborah!
And, now, it seems, weve come full circle. Not only do we now have the Patriot Act (a wonderfully modern up-date of Germanys Enabling Act, (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info / http://jack-dalton.blogspot.com/2005/06/enabling-ptriot-act.html), right down to the last comma) but we also have a 82 billion dollar defense bill, which (with a vote of 100 to 0) had the Real ID Act hidden inside it. (S.1637, FSC-ETI. Passed May 11, 2004) This law allows a national identification process in which each and every person in the U.S.A. will be on computer. And, yes, youd better show that ID upon command, or youll wind up like Deborah. And, as time goes by, much worse: Honorable, ethical, racially profiled, and dead.
Is this an exaggeration? Well, lets look at the current administration expanding the power of a little-known Pentagon Agency called the Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, which was created three years ago to protect military facilities from attack.. According to Washington Post writer Walter Pincus, a presidential commission will expand and transform the CIFA into an agency that has authority to investigate crimes within the USA, such as treason, foreign or terrorist sabotage or even economic espionage. And would allow it to label at will any person or activity of which it did not approve under these headings.
The Pentagon has pushed legislation that would create an intelligence exception to the Privacy Act, allowing the FBI and others to share information gathered about US citizens with the Pentagon, CIA and other agencies, as long as the data is deemed to be related to foreign intelligence (See CIFA).
This, of course, in addition to the Patriot Act revisions which give unlimited power and access to any and all governmental agents to anyone or anything they choose, without warrant or even reasonable cause (whatever that now means)
Alexander Solzhenitsyn once wrote: If the least important soldier in the German Army had chosen not to comply with orders to execute innocent people, others would have followed his lead, and there would not have been a Holocaust. Those words still ring true, right along with the actions of Mohandas Gandhi and Rosa Parks, and, today, with the action of Deborah Davis.
In Deborahs case, why are there not crowds holding signs, protesting, outside the Denver Federal Center? Could it be because of current media censorship? Diversionary news, such as Michael Jackson and/or Scott Peterson get major coverage to the point of insanity but persons like Deborah, or, just as currently Jose' Padilla, are shuffled off to the side-lines. My hunch is, that although Deborah faces arraignment in Denver on December 9, 2005, hardly anyone in that town is even aware of what just happened. As for media censorship and how it works, thats a whole other article.
It takes someone with not only the courage of her/his convictions, but also with a deep sense of urgency, to actually do something concrete that graphically shows the rest of us what is actually happening here. And that is what Ms. Davis has accomplished. The same steely resolve needed for anyone to say, I have had enough, and my answer is NO is reminiscent of Rosa Parks, also on a bus, a half-century ago..