I lost my wallet yesterday. It's not an unusual occurrence, it happens about once a month; usually it turns up in a few days. Problem is, like every other sentient hominid in the world, everything that allows me to function and move about in modern society is in my wallet.
In Indiana, in fact, if a police officer pulls me over, I MUST have a driver's license in my possession. If I cannot produce it, I get a $50 fine in addition to whatever other infraction for which I get cited.
My question is, when did just knowing who you were cease to be enough? I remember when I never even carried a wallet, no ID of any sort. People knew who you were.
Update: Just found my wallet.
But I won't let that stop me now. When I grew up, and I know there are a lot of you who know what I'm talking about, your identity was never questioned. Everyone who needed to know you knew you. If the cops pulled you over, they would call in your social security number and get whatever facts they needed.
So what happened? Well, the aforementioned Indiana law was a factor. When it got really bad, though, was after 9/11/01, when Congress passed the Patriot Act, a wholesale sell-off of the Constitution. I remember trying to cash my paycheck shortly thereafter, and being turned down at bank after bank because I couldn't produce TWO forms of picture ID. Huh? (Note: I have never been good with money, so I don't keep bank accounts for long.)
I have made bad decisions, and live with the consequences every day. I have committed my sins, and expect to stand before the Father to account for them. I have at times lived on the margins of society. And one thing the Government doesn't understand is that those of us on the margins of society don't appreciate being marginalized.
I will continue to carry a wallet, with picture ID, though grudgingly. But I will continue to remember when, in America, you could be recognized without having to produce useless documents.