2001-10-27 / Editorial/Opinion

Is It Time For a National Identification Card?

Is It Time For a National Identification Card?

Every American citizen already has an identification number through which the various governments can track our working life. It is called a Social Security Number, and most of us think nothing of placing it on all sorts of documents and applications. Most of us learn that number early in life and can bring it up from memory at the drop of an application. We are seldom, however, asked to show our Social Security Card as proof that we are who we say we are. In fact, short of having a driver’s license or a non-driver identification card from the state we live in, few people carry anything other than credit cards or work ID’s that can identify them. Therein lies our problem in relation to the current terrorist threat. There is no doubt that being required to carry a national identification card and being required to show it to authorities upon demand diminishes our individual rights. There is no doubt that it smacks of the totalitarian governments in Europe of the 1940’s. There is also no doubt that dozens, perhaps hundreds of Muslim terrorists managed to navigate daily life in America with phony identifications that got them cars, hotel reservations, flying lessons and, ultimately, first-class airplane tickets that they turned into the worst disaster America has ever suffered. A few week’s ago, this paper argued that America must use common sense in this battle against terrorism. A National Identification is just the first step in that common sense approach.


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