Performing a Civic Duty

This morning, I performed one of my basic duties as a citizen.

I wrote a letter to my governor.

Here it is. I hope it inspires you to contact your own officials and make your voice heard.

And if you don't know about Real ID yet, I encourage you to do a little research. I expect you'll be just as unsettled as I was.

Dear Governor Perdue,

I was happy to see Montana governor Brian Schweitzer speak out against the Real ID rules that the DHS recently passed.

As an employee of the defense department (I work as a civil servant for the Air Force in middle Georgia) I'm accustomed to extensive ID and background checks--when they are appropriate.

The Orwellian regulations that the DHS have created, however, give me chills. They have generated a system that is inefficient, suspect, still subject to failure (and a higher number of false positives--where innocent civilians are detained or inconvenienced in the name of the safety of "the state") and expensive to boot.

The idea of being required to show Federal papers when I want to travel via our network of domestic airports reminds me of Mother Russia's "papers please" mentality before the wall came down and the communist system crumbled. I've spoken out to my friends and family at length about this, and many of them agree with me--we're a nation where freedom--of thought, of speech, and of movement--is essential.

Even if enough federal funding were available to offset the cost to Georgia to put this plan into action, I would still speak out heavily against it--it is dangerous to give too much of our privacy and security away, and the DHS's willingness to use our inconvenience when we travel as a club to browbeat us into submission is a cowardly trick.

I ask as a concerned Georgia citizen: Please join Governor Schweitzer in refusing to put this plan into action or asking for an extension. I believe our freedoms are precious, and the erosion of essential liberty for the illusion of increased security is too terrible a price to pay.

- [Name redacted]

(Of course, I used my real name with the governor).

Saturday, January 19, 2008