Just an update on the driver's license fiasco--I now have a Virginia driver's license, so I can rest assured that I do exist and I am married. I went to the Leesburg DMV, which on the whole was a better experience than the Fairfax one, although it still had it's touchy moments. I brought my raft of documents (PA license, ID card, passport, marriage certificate, and mortgage statement) up to the first window, and the man looked everything over. "Where is your social security card?" he asked suspiciously. "Umm, my SSN is right there on my military ID card, "I said, thankful that I had indeed stuck the whole stupid folder of papers in the car and I could jsut run out and get the card if need be. After scrutinizing that, he agreed it was okay. Wow, what grace! When I got to the second window, the one where they actually take your application and give you the vision test, the lady was quite suspicious of my Ohio marriage certificate. She wanted me to have a "license", while all I have is this "certificate", which is signed in blue pen so you can tell it's not a copy. And it says on the DMV form that a "certificate' is okay, but the lady wasn't liking it. Hey, it's all I've got! Take it up with Ohio. Eventually she did decide it would pass her inspection. Good grief. As Christa so accurately described them, they are Nazis here in VA!
As it turns out, Laura was absolutely right in her comments--this is all part of the Patriot Act, and eventually all states are supposed to have these draconian standards (funny aside--on Wednesday, at the first DMV, when I told the lady that I had NEVER had such a hassle getting a license in other states, etc. and asked why it was so difficult, she said that it was just to hassle people--really, that's what she said-- and then she said that eventually all states would have this--"even Wisconsin". What? Who brought up Wisconsin? Are they known as the backwoods DMV state, where they give out licenses to any and everyone? I just thought that was funny, that she pulled that state out of the clear blue sky.) Today there was an article in the Washington Times about how Maine lawmakers have rejected these standards and are calling on Congress to repeal the Real ID Act, which is where they came from.
"Opponents have said that requirements for license holders to prove their identity using a short list of acceptable documents will be burdensome on the elderly and economically marginal, and that depriving illegal aliens of the right to hold a license might be a disaster for road safety."
Well, I don't agree with the illegal aliens part, but these rules certainly are burdensome on the law-abiding citizens among us! It's like gun control--criminals still get guns (illegally, of course), but the law-abiding citizens are inconvenienced and have to jump through a bunch of hoops. Don't I feel safe.
The article says that Maine is basically playing a big game of chicken with the government because "driver's licenses issued by states that do not meet Real ID requirements in 2008 will no longer be valid for "federal purposes"--such as boarding planes or entering federal buildings." It will be interesting to see how it all plays out, but I'm sure there will never be less requirements, even if the law is repealed. Lawmakers seem to think that inconvenience is what makes America safe, so they will just come up with something even more ludicrous.