Not long ago, Americans feared and ridiculed the police states cursing too many parts of the world. We worried that they might one day conquer us despite their poverty and general misery even as we mocked their totalitarian tactics — especially their "Papers, please" mentality.
Indeed, being forced to prove one's identity to a bureaucrat on demand, having to carry and produce documents with personal information for his approval — or condemnation — seemed especially horrifying. One of our classic films, Casablanca, revolved around the deadly hassles of obtaining or forging such papers under the Nazis; episodes of Mission Impossible in the 1960s often featured the same detail as American agents outwitted sinister Slavic tyrants.
What tragic irony, then, that the U.S. government increasingly compels us to identify ourselves. And it's an even greater tragedy that this command no longer terrifies Americans, let alone goads them to protest.
Until now. While the president and his cronies push the country toward full-fledged fascism, state legislatures have rebelled against a federal edict that establishes a key component of such tyrannies: the national ID card.
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