Friday, January 26, 2007

I'm In!

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.


Pilot Mom said...

I just went thru this same hassle on the last work day of the year! My bad!

I had to wait 2 hours to get mine and I think I showed my car registration and my checkbook...can you believe it?

Beverly said...

Whew! Glad to hear you're done with that ordeal. Getting my NV license when we moved here in August 2005 wasn't bad at all, but I don't know if requirements have changed since then or not. My biggest worry at that time was keeping my 3 kids contained in a small waiting area while hundreds of people milled about, and we had to stand in about 3 different lines, but really, it went quite well (we read a lot while waiting). Now I'm dreading the next go-around...who knows where we'll be when I need to renew the license...

Dy said...

You have discovered one of my biggest, most raw nerves: government legislation for our "safety". For the good of those of us evidently too stoopid to realize how much danger we could be in, if left to our own devices.

They're going to have a field day when they realize our marriage license was never filed by the pastor who officiated at our wedding. We have the pictures, and the signed and witnessed certificate, but nothing on file w/ the gub'ment. Weeee!

I'm glad you're legal. Wouldn't want any questions to arise when this baby arrives, eh? ;-)


Elizabeth B said...

Hi Clare--this is Liz. I enjoyed meeting you finally. Kim thought we might have a lot in common!

We have a collection of license plate from all the states we've lived in so far. It used to be a fairly easy process. After our experiences getting plates withn the last few years in our last 2 states (Ohio and Virginia), we were tempted to register all our cars in Jeff's home state for the duration of his career. The rules there aren't much easier, but at least they would be the same every time. However, we've decided we really want a nice license plate collection, so we'll keep dealing with the dreaded DMV.

I've got some reading and spelling ideas for you--I'll put it in the post on Caleb's School Update.

dog_and_boy said...

I remember having to go through an awful lot of trouble trying to get my driver's license (and the Leesburg DMV was waaaaaay better) and thinking it was bad. But I didn't even have to worry about showing half the stuff that you did!