Saturday, January 19, 2008

Disecting ID

There are a number of arguments in the "Why we should protest having to show our ID's to get into GA" fracas. I propose to take them one by one. But first let me say that "disliking" and "protesting" are two very different things. I'm going to find the whole ID business disagreeable, like most people will, I imagine. While I've gotten quite used to showing my ID to get on an airplane and kind of used to showing my ID to buy decongestant, showing my ID to get into a convention is new, and I don't like new. And the fact that the convention is my very own precious GA, where I want to be with "my people" and feel like we're powerful....that's going to be an ongoing grief about how things have changed hitting me in my very heart.

So. I'm sad and will no doubt get sadder. But protest? Let's see.

The most dramatic reason that some people will be boycotting GA or protesting is that in their minds, government requirement for ID's in possible terrorist targets such as the Port of Ft. Lauderdale is just another step on the path to fascism. I don't agree with this line of reasoning. I think that there are legitimate reasons for a government to ask for ID, and that there are ways to handle this which are just, democratic, and non-threatening to civil liberties. (There are plenty of other steps on the road to fascism which I worry about quite a bit more, but I still have faith in the political process and the good sense of Americans to deal with.)

For those who make this argument, I ask: Why draw the line in front of a Convention Center? Why not protest your local airport or Federal Court?


ogre said...

This subject got some time in a tangential discussion at the just-past Polity January Intensives class at Meadville Lombard. The line seems to be being drawn there because of the church-state issue.

Regardless of growing authoritarianism and demand for "papers, please" going on in the society, what's going on that triggers this is that people will have to show ID to federal authorities and be permitted access to their own associational worship services. It's not the showing of ID that's creating hysteria--we're already showing a form of ID to enter any GA. But that's a self-regulating, self-protecting device--to ensure that we know who's at GA, and that those there are supposed to be there.

Instead, we're going to a GA where people will potentially be refused access not by us, but in the name of port security (as if the security of the port were menaced by individuals with backpacks and Birkenstocks... while shipping containers come through without monitoring--but that's another story) and national security.

Imagine that someone threw a national security cordon around the blocks that include our church. Imagine then that you and your parishioners could only enter your church with the approval of federal officers....

That's where the beef in this argument is, I think.

As for me, I still don't know if I'm going. Ministry Days has been moved out in response, but I'm not yet in candidacy, so I can't get my associational fix there--and our minister's getting final fellowship at GA this year. So I need to figure out....

Anonymous said...

I started having to show ID to get into my office building (federal building) at about 8:30am Central Time on September 11th. I went to get coffee and when I came back the world had changed - there were metal detectors and this huge long line of people and some very upset looking security guys who had previously normally sat comfortably in the center of a large round desk area, watching security cameras, except when we had demonstrations outside, when similar measures would be employed.

So now I show ID at least once a day to go to work, and twice if I eat somewhere other than in the building food court.

Now in our Federal building it's an either or thing now. Either you show ID or you go through the metal dectectors.

I have wondered if that would meet the requirements of the port.

Lynn Calvin