Tuesday, 26 April 2011

poll tax or right-of-return

Thanks to the vigilance of BoingBoing, since the machinery of bureaucracy usually does not garner much attention and was only noticed due to a mandated window for public commentary (on the particulars but not the process) that has since closed, maybe the US government, intoning another refrain of its swan song, will not be able to raise the stakes on what its people will tolerate not without some dissent. First of all, who knew there was this forum for soft-suffrage, being able to offer one's opinion, for what it's worth on American policy--for maybe gauging outrage and deciding how to bury reporting on the changes? I suppose public-opinion would be an excellent inverse-marketing tool. In essence, the passport application process will become an impossibly difficult task, with a revised questionnaire that mines deeply into the applicant's past and genealogy.
For now, the arduous task is supposedly reserved for those who cannot produce an official copy of their birth certificate (giving this new gradient of bureaucracy a strange twist with one faction calling the current presidency illegitimate and questioning his citizenship), but I am sure there will be some seepage of red ink and maybe all applicants will be expected to submit all these answers--which are more in depth than the battery of questions one must answer (if not correctly then at least consistently) for a security clearance. Moreover, delving that deeply into one's past and familial relations create assumptions and affinities before individuals have the chance to decide for themselves--not to mention. That sort of concentration of personal data--extended enough so as to form anyone's complete biography, connected to a machine-readable, RFID document also seems rather ill-advised.  I am not certain what ought to be read into breadth of questions and answers but controlling movement (as America has already pioneered in the name of air-security) has at least what the propaganda would have us believe about liberties of underclass in Soviet times and with Soviet objectives. Making it more difficult to obtain a passport leave more stranded on Exceptional Island, and discourage the cultural exchange, travel, commerce and exploration that all should have the opportunity to experience.