An announcement made May 11, 2011 by the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission is one that should instantly be one of concern. The new driver’s licenses available in New Jersey will now be “materially compliant under REAL ID standards.” How did a state once described as “cobalt blue” in 2008 by the New York Times become such a willing participant in one of the most blatant violations of our civil liberties by the Bush administration and the Republican-dominated 109th Congress?

The REAL ID Act, introduced in 2005, was presented as a tool against both terrorism and illegal immigration, but has been criticized by groups at the federal and state levels. Like the Tenth Amendment Center, DownsizeDC, a civil libertarian organization whose goals also transcend party lines, has been quick to point out the flaws of REAL ID, and has reiterated calls for repeal on the sixth anniversary of this tyrannical foot in the door legislation. Alongside DownsizeDC’s calls for repeal at the federal level, the Tenth Amendment Center has been instrumental in getting Nullification legislation and/or anti-REAL ID resolutions passed in no fewer than 25 states, delaying the implementation of REAL ID multiple times.

So what happened to New Jersey? One would think such a heavily Democratic state would be glad to join in the opposition to a piece of nationally unpopular legislation with Bush’s fingerprints all over it. And yet, of the 25 states that stood up to REAL ID, 18 supported McCain in 2008. Four others have been swing states, leaving a grand total of three what could be considered “reliably blue” states with the guts to oppose the national ID card. Noticeably absent from the list are California, Michigan, and the entire Tri-State area, as well as the Electoral Vote heavy swing states of Florida and Ohio.

If the anti-Bush sentiment were really as strong as it was made out to be in these blue states, as well as in swing states McCain lost because of the unpopularity of Bush’s policies, these states would have been at the forefront of opposing REAL ID, not lagging behind the rest. This applies to some extent to all the other states mentioned, including New York, where I grew up, but here in New Jersey, I would be negligent if I failed to point the accusing finger at the Democratic majority in the State Legislature (and the Republican minority as well). You, who were supposedly so anti-Bush, you were silent and complicit in one of the greatest blows to liberty by the Bush administration. You help perpetuate the myth of one party vs. another, when the real struggle is establishment vs. liberty. You have chosen the side of the establishment.

New Jerseyans can never be proud of their state until we begin to stand up to the central establishment one more time, as we did in 1776. The first New Jersey State Constitution, proclaimed us an independent state before the Declaration of Independence passed Congress. Somehow, we went from a leader in the charge for liberty to the first volunteer for the slaughterhouse of tyranny. We need to wake up once more and take back our state. We must ring the phones off the hook and fill up the inboxes, mailboxes and faxes of our Assemblypersons and State Senators with one simple message – NULLIFY REAL ID NOW!

Benjamin W. Mankowski, Sr.

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