Are We Living In a Police State?

Posted on July 14, 2011 by

I recently renewed my driver’s license. Things have changed a great deal in the five years since my last renewal. Before, all I needed was my expiring license and one additional piece of documentation to verify proof of address. This year I needed:

  • Social Security Card
  • Marriage License
  • Birth Certificate
  • Expiring License
  • One current piece of mail (such as utility bill) as proof of address

When I got the renewal notice and saw all the additional documentation required, I wrote it off as the cost of ensuring that driver’s licenses are only issued to legal citizens. I was slightly annoyed, but I got over it quickly. Until last weekend.

After being hit with a monster bug that put me in bed for one day, I asked the husband to get me some useless multi-symptom masking cold medicine since I knew there was no way this house could function without me for another day.

At the checkout, the computer froze the transaction, and it couldn’t go forward until he had surrendered his I.D. and had it swiped at the register.Apparently, the government needs to keep a record of whose buying certain kinds of cold medicine. We might be meth producers! Is it just possible to be buying cold medicine because you have a cold? You can never be too sure, I guess, so they err on the side of “caution” rather than freedom.

It is worth noting that this development, of carding Americans who have a cold and seek relief, started under “conservative” President George W. Bush under the Patriot Act, which was supposed to be about fighting terror. Apparently it’s also about the “war on drugs”:

Under the Patriot Act signed by President Bush on March 9, 2006, all drug products that contain the ingredient pseudoephedrine must be kept behind the pharmacy counter and must be sold in limited quantities to consumers after they show identification and sign a logbook.

The new legal provisions for selling and purchasing pseudoephedrine-containing products are part of the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005, which was incorporated into the Patriot Act. These “anti-meth” provisions introduce safeguards to make certain ingredients used in methamphetamine manufacturing more difficult to obtain in bulk and easier for law enforcement to track.

We’re all guilty until proven innocent. All potential methamphetamine dealers. I don’t like this idea of having to “show your papers” to complete daily mundane tasks. Not to mention getting groped and felt up just to get on an airplane.

Are we already living in a police state? How did this happen without the slightest bit of protest? Is it just the “cost” of “freedom?”