The draft lays out how some 60,000 already strapped town and county offices must keep the birth and death records under lock and key and report all document requests to Washington. Individuals who show up in person will still be able to obtain their own birth certificates, and in some cases, the birth and death records of an immediate relative; and “legitimate” research institutions may be able to access files. But reporters and activists won’t be allowed to fish through records; many family members looking for genetic clues will be out of luck; and people wanting to trace adoptions will dead-end. If you are homeless and need your own birth certificate, forget it: no address, no service.But this isn't even the bad part.
Activists in Colorado already know what it is like when states bar access to vital records. For years, they fought the Cotter Corporation, claiming that its uranium mining operations were killing residents and workers. Unwilling to rely on the health department, which they claimed had a “cozy” relationship with the polluters, the activists tried to access death records, only to be told that it was illegal in this closed-record state. An editorial in Colorado’s Longmont Daily Times-Call lamented, “If there’s a situation that makes the case for why death certificates should be available to the public, it is th[is] Superfund area.”Ask yourself who this kind of law benefits. Certainly not the state and local authorities who have to execute it. The public? Please.
My personal take on all this is less about the realities of BushCo and its policies and more about the sheer irony of the conservative mind in the third millennium. Consider:
- Centralization of power is anathema to American conservativism, and yet the main body of American conservatives seems to be just fine with the most egregious extended campaign of federal power grabbing in ... history?
- American evangelicals love Dubya and his cronies, but look hard at what this law does, then look hard at the Real ID Act of 2005, mentioned in this article. Then look real hard at their end-times theology and how they think the whole Beast thing will shape up. National ID cards? I'm sorry, did you just ask me to get George Bush's SS# tattooed on my ass?
- And as a side note, do you remember back in the old days when conservatives cared about gun safety? Imagine for a second. It's 1998, and VP Al Gore, out quail hunting with a powerful lawyer for Greenpeace, loses track of where everybody is, hears a rustling in the bushes, whirls and pumps a round of birdshot into his "friend." Can you imagine the uproar? No, no - not from Leno and Letterman. From the NRA and the political right.