Until recently I have largely ignored critics of the Patriot Act which gave broad powers to law enforcement officers in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I figured I’m a very patriotic guy and if the ACLU is against it I should be for it. Not any more.
I am in the process of buying a new home so that my nearly 85 year old mother can come live with my family. This is a direct result of my fathers debilitating stroke nearly seven months ago that has left him incapable of taking care of himself and thus unable to return home. Buying a home and moving two households is stressful enough, yet thanks to the Patriot Act we now need to provide all kinds of identification, including copies of drivers licenses and social security cards. I would have thought the thorough examination of one’s credit history and the amount of time from signing a contract to settlement would have been sufficient to prove that I am not a criminal or terrorist. Luckily I have the necessary id so it’s not really a big deal, just intrusive.
It only gets better though when it comes to my mother. She is providing the bulk of the down payment so the lender has listed her as a party to the purchase. Only one problem. She doesn’t have a picture ID. She has never driven in her life and her passport expired many years ago. I didn’t think this was a big deal. After all as I stated earlier, she is nearly 85 and last year broke her hip which has slowed her down a great deal. As you can imagine she has limited mobility and rarely leaves her house as a result. Yet it is a big deal as the law doesn’t allow for exceptions and somehow in the next week I must arrange to either get my mother a passport or some other government issued ID. So I will now have to spend what will undoubtedly be several hours waiting in line at the MVA or passport office with a very frail woman to prove to the government that my mother isn’t a terrorist or criminal.
As usual the governemnet has passed a law without giving any thought to all the ramifications of what they were doing. While I won’t be joining the ACLU anytime soon, I will pay closer attention to efforts designed to “protect us”.