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Real ID Runaround

As you may recall from my earlier blathering, my (WY) driver license is up for renewal in early January. Now the instructions in the letter sent me by the equivalent of your DMV stated that I would have to appear in person to renew since I had renewed by mail four years ago, and that I would need to bring my old license for ID. Fine. It had always been that way. There were a couple of attachments, one a list of locations where the renewal could be made, and another with a list of IDs needed when APPLYING for a license. Nevertheless, I began to wonder.

I checked and learned that in fact the same IDs were required for renewals as well, which resulted in me having need for a “state-certified” birth certificate. A passport would have sufficed, but I have never, ever applied for one, since I have never, ever left the beloved country of my birth, save for a couple of short excursions into Mexico as a teenager, in the days when the border cops simply asked your city of birth, that is to say before the current state of national paranoia set it in. I was also told that my old official birth certificate copy, issued to my mother in 1983 (33 years following my birth), embossed with the great seal of the County of Alameda, and signed and dated by the Alameda County Recorder attesting to its accuracy, would not suffice, odd since the state gets its information from the counties! But such is paranoia.

So, I ordered an “official and certified” birth certificate from the California Department of Public health, mailing the notarized application on October 26. As of 12/06, the certificate had not arrived. That afternoon, I called the equivalent of your DMV to see about getting the process going to extend my expiring license until the certificate arrives. I was advised to contact the local licensing station and to speak with a supervisor there. I did so. She said I needed to come in and fill out some paperwork for the license extension.

Before that telephone conversation ended, I had concluded that I had nothing to lose by bringing up with the supervisor that I indeed already had a birth certificate, embossed with the Alameda County seal, date stamped, and signed by the Alameda County Recorder at the time, that was given me by my mother back in 1983. I expected once again to be told the same old story: not acceptable. But instead, the woman asked me if the seal appearing on the document was truly an embossment, that is, was the paper actually deformed by the seal stamp. I answered that indeed it was, adding that the stamp was without color and only a stamped impression. She said that was fine, as long as the impression itself was visible, and capable of being felt by touching. She further stated that seal impressions are difficult to duplicate.

My old birth certificate was acceptable! My feeling was literally akin to one who is floating on a cloud. I thanked her profusely and told her I wished that she had been the first one with whom I had spoken. She said to be sure and mention her by name if anyone questioned my birth certificate when I presented it.

Well, bright and early this morning (12/07), I drove to the local licensing office and arrived in time to be second in line at the office, which opened a few minutes later. About half an hour later, I was on my way out that door, having renewed my driver license, with no problem at all. I even passed the vision test without wearing glasses, meaning my license will continue to be free of restrictions. I have worn prescription glasses while driving for the last 27 years simply because I see more clearly with them, but it’s sort of an ego thing for me not to have any restrictions on the license.

I suspect the certificate from California will arrive soon. Then I will have two legally acceptable documents proving that I was born here in exceptional land. I cannot fault the California Public Health Department in any way. They apparently deal with around one thousand requests for birth certificates every day in the paranoid nightmare climate this country loves so much, not to mention the public health problems associated with the recent fires.

REAL ID my foot. More like REAL Fascism. Just another facet of the pathetic state to which this country has regressed.

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