Your Papers Please

It’s a far cry from the edge of the Grand Canyon to the department of motor vehicles license renewal line.  The scenery and grandeur of one of the world’s most amazing structures gives way to a room full of government chairs filled with the variously dressed, marked, and pierced forms spanning the spectrum of body shape and type from waif to I need two chairs and an oxygen tank.  Life is like that.  It teases us with grace and beauty and then slaps us with a trip to the DMV.

Anyway, in Georgia we now have to do some extra hoop jumping for our driver’s license.  In order to renew, or get a new one, you must have with you:

  • At least one (1) original or certified document to prove your Primary Identity; and
  • At least one (1) document to prove your Social Security Number; and
  • At least two (2) documents to prove your Residential Address; and
  • Appropriate Name Change documents, if needed.

Here’s the detailed link if you are interested.

I don’t have a real problem with this – driving is not a right it is a privilege and there are rules to earning that privilege.  Here’s the part I don’t get:  all of this change is in response to requirements of the Federal Real ID act.  You get a gold star – I promise, they print a gold star on your license – if it is a legit ID.  It’s like a good day at elementary school.  So, if I get pulled over for speeding, or whatever, or run into a roadblock outside the game and the officer asks for my license and registration, he will in effect be checking at least 4 separate types of paperwork verifying that I am who I say I am.

And there are no protestors.  No nightly news coverage.  No one at all, that I can see, complaining that we are treating anyone unfairly.  Every time I show my driver’s license or get asked to show my driver’s license, I am in essence proving my citizenship, or legal status in this country.  Again, I have no problem with any of this – except for the part about the scenery in the DMV office – but it seems like someone would.

I got my tamper-proof, gold star license in the mail yesterday, terrible photo and all.  I will show it proudly when asked.  The rest of the time, I think I’ll spend looking at photos from the National Parks, or planning another trip, while subconsciously contemplating the various ironies of living in our glorious Republic.

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