Are you hearing people in high positions of authority say we are already well into World War III? Today I heard it several times on national news. It is surely a depressing thought, and we need the best brains we can summon to help us avoid terrorism against terrorism. If you are a hawk, you may ask if there is any other option than carpet bombing, and I wish to address that question.
With only a little sacrifice on our part, I believe that we have an alternative that would cost no lives on either side of what seems to be a fight fueled by religious fanaticism. Please hear me out before you decide that I am a foolish dove.
I believe we can shut down almost all terrorism by simply requiring an unfailing method of identifying every person who is within the boundaries of our nation at any time. It would not be an impossible task as science provides us with a wide array of unique characteristics that no two individuals share. Some are exotic and would need to be discarded as invasive or humiliating, but I hark back to the days when I wore identification tags called dog tags by service men.
The tags were not in any way debasing and in no way interfered with your life or activity. Better brains than mine would be need to come up with a cheap method of identification that would be devoid of stigma because of its universality and fairness.
Think with me about why so many people try for anonymity; some may have frail reasons of pride or imagined loss of freedom, but the ones we most often encounter are terrorists, criminals, dead-beat dads and others with less than sterling reasons.
In the early days of federal help for the poor, commodities were brought in and given to any who claimed to be poor. The result was the poor lost out because the not-so-poor often came and got the commodities. President Franklin D. Roosevelt saw what was happening and took measures to see the food actually went to the needy and not to the greedy.
Embedded deep into our psyche is the idea of guarding our freedom, but a national identity requirement would give us freedom rather than take it away. It would give more power to a national government and that is a high concern when we live under a government that loads us with all kinds of bureaucratic nonsense. Think of how many hours you spend trying to identify yourself these days and consider the relief that an easier system of identification would give us.
Remember also that our freedom is guaranteed most of all by a determination to be free and a large dose of common sense about acceding to the notion that no one of us is an island of individuality. We make rules of the road to guarantee freedom and not to restrict it.
TOBY HIGHTOWER is a retired educator and former Hopkinsville High School teacher. His email address is email@example.com. Write to him at 222 S. 25th St., Apartment 434, Terre Haute, IN. 47803.