Thursday, February 07, 2008

I cannot follow the logic

of Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, UUA Trustee from the Metropolitan New York District , in her decision to not attend the next General Assembly. The issue, of course, is the security requirement that attendees show a government issued ID; she says, "This situation exemplifies our Fifth Principle writ large, and I am consumed by the idea that we have given the US government the capacity to dictate to our General Assembly who might and might not join us." Ok... assuming the worst from the Port security officials, who would be excluded by this? Anyone who drives to GA is already prepared to show ID at any traffic stop. Those who take a train or plane must show their ID just to get there. Anyone staying in a hotel must show ID to get a room. These things apply in every city, not just Ft. Lauderdale. So the only person affected by the special security in the Port of Ft Lauderdale and not at a GA in any other city would be the one who hitchhikes there, and stays at a homeless shelter or tent city in a park, AND who cannot get a government ID for some reason.

So who cannot get the required ID? Not the poor- even if your state does not give free ID as my state does, (Indiana requires ID to vote, and so gives free ID to those who cannot scrape up $10 for a drivers license), and this poor person receives no governemnt aid of any kind, (AFDC, SSI, all other government programs require ID as well), the UUA will buy it for you! (see Frequently Asked Questions About Security in Fort Lauderdale ) So the poor are able to get ID, as are convicted felons, Communists, VooDoo Houngans, left handed albino pipe fitters... in fact, the one and only class of people unable to get U.S. Government ID are illegal aliens. Actually, even an illegal alien could get in if they have ID from their nation of origin- the Ft. Lauderdale Port Security accepts ID from foreign nations, and does not run a computer check on them. (again, see the FAQ) So the only delegate who could be refused is an illegal alien who doesn't even have ID from their home country. Perhaps my congregation is a snooty elitist one, but that description does not fit any of our delegates.

As there is no practical reason for objecting, the only remaining reason is one of principal- the refusal to submit to government even when you're on their turf, rather than your own. I can understand that one, but it seems to me that there's another principal at stake here, too, one that should be balanced against the absolutist non-complance stand- and it has to do with our current debate on the Peace resolution. The raison d'etre for the extra security is that ports are both targets and conduits for terrorism. If there is another 9/11, there will be another war- as simple as that. Unlike the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war had popular support because it was the country from which 9/11 was launched- and a great many of those against the Iraq war are only complaining about how badly it's been handled, not the concept of the war. It seems to me that it's incumbent upon those most strenuosly opposing war to take the lead in following all measures meant to prevent war, and another attack might well mean the full might of the US Military being brought to bear upon the Middle East, rather than the police action it's been treated as so far- something I don't think we want to contemplate. If we want to take peace seriously, we have to take security seriously. Given what's at stake, what kind of example does it set for someone who has to show ID to rent a video to object to showing ID to enter a port?

7 comments:

Jeff said...

Joel, the font size on this post is way off. I think you'd better tweak it, it'll probably drive off a lot of readers.

Joel Monka said...

Thanks, I had to edit it three times; I don't know whay it got so glitchy.

Chalicechick said...

That was roughly my thinking.

CC

h sofia said...

Random thought - unrelated to your overall argument - one wouldn't need a driver's license to travel or ID to get into a hotel if you are with someone who is driving and has booked the hotel in their name.

djd said...

Even with the hotel taken care of, you would need an ID if you wanted to go out for drinks. : )

Robin Edgar said...

Here's some ID for U*Us to think about. . .

Will said...

Just catching up on some of your old posts, Joel.

This woman obviously just likes to protest. She *likes* it and she acts according to her *feelings*. Logic has nothing to do with it.

Underneath it all, I'd be willing to bet that, to her, showing an ID equates to giving in to Geroge W. Bush. Can't have that.