Saturday, January 9, 2016

When is an ID not an ID?

I’m sure that to the general public in Illinois, an identification card is an identification card.

Not necessary yet!
A name, a picture (probably depicting you in a bad light)? What more do you need?

BUT THE ILLINOIS driver’s license that many of us carry about in our wallets and tend to think of as the be-all of end-all in terms of identification in any situation came ever so close to being inadequate for those of us who travel to any degree of frequency.

For Sunday was supposed to be the day that the federal government would quit allowing people entering federal facilities to do so using an Illinois driver’s license as their basic identification.

As it turns out, the Federal Aviation Administration backed down, saying they’ll extend the amount of time for Illinois to amend its license operations to make them acceptable as proper ID until 2018.

Jan. 22 of 2018, to be exact.

AFTER THAT DATE, if Illinois and the secretary of state’s office has not made changes, people trying to get through airport security would not only have to show up an hour-and-a-half prior to their scheduled flight time (then grumble about what a massive waste of their time it is), they also would have to have a passport.

Even if the trip in question is just a short jaunt from O’Hare International to Lambrecht airport in St Louis. Although personally, I can’t envision anyone seriously making that flight – it would just be less of a hassle to drive an automobile to get there.

Now I’m not about to explain exactly why the Illinois license is so inadequate that the federal government questions its legitimacy. Something about how we don’t require enough verification measures in gathering up information about the people we legally permit to drive automobiles on our roadways.

Yet another headache to be added to use of O'Hare International Airport?
Although the bottom line could be a factual tidbit from the Illinois Policy Institute, which says that to fully create an Illinois driver’s license or state ID card (for those people who don’t drive) would cost the state about $100 per license issued – compared to the $30 it now costs.

WHICH I’M SURE will tick off enough local people into questioning whether or not they ever need to fly again. I can already envision the griping that would have occurred if the federal government had maintained a hard line on this issue.

Instead, they backed off for two years, as they have every few years for the past decade whenever this issue comes up.

Who’s to say when, if ever, Illinois will be in compliance with the REALID Act that was meant to bolster the level of national security, and quite possibly be a step toward creating a national identification card?

Which is a step that would truly tick off the ideologues of our society who would worry about having so much personal information in the hands of a federal government agency.

ALTHOUGH IF YOU think objectively about all the information that the Internal Revenue Service or the Federal Bureau of Investigation is capable of getting about any individual with a few strokes of computer keyboard keys, you’d have to wonder what the real difference is.

Do we really think more highly of Homeland Security than we do the IRS?

There’s also the fact that in my own case, I actually have a father and step-mother who left town for a Las Vegas weekend, and weren’t set to come back until after the Sunday cut-off.

It would be just my luck that they would win big at the casinos to make the family independently wealthy, only to make it impossible for them to return to Chicago next week. Or maybe that’s just their way of keeping the cash and telling the rest of us, “See ya!”


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