Real Dumb

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If you have been to an airport any time in the past year, you’ve probably be warned verbally by the TSA that, starting on October 1st, you will have to have a “RealID” driver’s license if you want to fly.

This actually isn’t true, but I’ll get to that later.

Indeed, I have no idea how many hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are being wasted on marketing this throughout the nation, but I can’t even glance at ZeroHedge on my phone without seeing citizen who is absolutely ecstatic that the state is setting up a new mechanism to track her ass. (As an aside, glancing at the ads above and below, I’m starting to wonder why California is specifically using Asian models for all these promotions?)

The law that created RealID was called – – and I am not making this title up – – “An Act to establish and rapidly implement regulations for state driver’s license and identification document security standards, to prevent terrorists from abusing the asylum laws of the United States, to unify terrorism-related grounds for inadmissibility and removal, and to ensure expeditious construction of the San Diego border fence.” Yes, that is seriously the name of this goddamned thing.

I’d like to note that the word rapidly is actually part of the bill’s name. I’d also like to point out that it was signed in 2005 in response to the 9/11/01 terror attacks. So, almost twenty years after the attacks, we’re getting around to implementing this thing.

The requirements, even for a documents nerd like me, are fairly arduous. You need to come up with at least one of these:

And one of these:

And two of these (there are more, but you get the point).

Since my family and I do quite a bit of air travel, I decided to schedule a time with the DMV. I was stunned to see the next appointment was two months in the future, so I dutifully signed up, figuring that it would be far better to whisk through the process swiftly rather than stand in line for hours with all the people without appointments.

Well, after two months, the big day finally came, and I showed up at the DMV. The image below isn’t the DMV I went to, but every DMV in the country looks the same, so it’ll do.

I won’t bore you with the details, but I will tell you these things:

  1. The appointment didn’t help. Indeed, I actually waited longer with the appointment than those who just strolled in out of the blue.
  2. There were tons of lines, and they moved with all the speed of a glacier in January.
  3. Every time I was done with one line, I was told to go to a different line.

Out of sheer boredom, I was looking up articles on my iPhone about RealID, and I soon found out that………………..I didn’t need it at all! If you’ve got a U.S. Passport or Global Entry (and I’ve got both), you don’t have to screw around with RealID at all. Of course, the nice people at TSA who had warned me about RealID dozens of times didn’t mention this little fact. I had to find out of my own. I guess the delighted Asian citizens in their ads had me convinced otherwise.

I’ll say one last thing: the idea that everyone will be required to have this on October 1, 2020 is laughable. I am extremely organized about my papers, and it took me a fair bit of effort to gather up everything than I needed, and that was on top of waiting two months for a (meaningless) appointment. Since at least 80% of the citizens of California are feckless dillweeds, I strongly suspect that only a tiny percentage of people will actually succeed in getting RealIDs and, oh, sometime in the summer, the government will waive a white flag and extend (yet again) the “deadline” for this idiotic program.

Bottom line for me: nearly two hours wasted on a pointless government debacle. The only silver lining was that I had deliberately made myself the guinea pig, and I came back home and told the rest of my family that they didn’t need to go to their afternoon appointment. We were all set, and the good state of California could shove their RealID program right where the sun don’t shine. You might consider telling your state the same, if you can.