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COMMENTARY
REAL ID
(Screenshot)

I‘ve written multiple times about Oklahoma’s REAL ID Act compliance situation, and each time it has been a veritable nightmare of government officials not knowing their asses from holes in the ground.

Late Tuesday, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin issued a press release announcing yet another “extension” for the state’s compliance with REAL ID, a controversial set of federal requirements for state driver’s licenses that was borne of post-9/11 security fears.

Oklahoma, Alaska, California, Oregon and Virginia received extensions for REAL ID compliance until June 6, and Fallin’s release noted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has warned that failure for Oklahoma’s Legislature to act during its 2017 session “could result in the denial of future extension requests.”

Or, of course, it could not.

Sixteen other states and territories have extensions running through Oct. 10, and three states are out of compliance with the act already: Minnesota, Missouri and Washington.

Five other states — Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Pennsylvania and South Carolina — have not yet received additional 2017 extensions, meaning their compliance could be up Jan. 30.

Blown deadlines

If federal officials are wringing their hands and trying to figure out why almost half of state legislative leaders and most of the American public as a whole apparently can’t muster enough interest to take action for REAL ID compliance, they need only blame themselves.

Constantly kicking deadlines down the road has created a culture of ambivalence about this vague federal program that in some undefined way is supposed to prevent terrorism in America.

People aren’t getting the message that this is Serious Business because, if it were Serious Business, the federal government wouldn’t be playing nicely. It would be bringing the hammer down on non-compliant states.

And, besides, Jack Bauer stops terrorism, not drivers’ licenses.

The job nobody wants

With the U.S. Department of Homeland Security serving as a bumbling parent who has unwittingly cheapened his authority by capitulating to his petulant children, officials interested in forcing states to become REAL ID compliant should probably consider thinking outside of the box, lest they send any more press releases detailing their inability to accomplish anything.

Perhaps the U.S. Department of Homeland Security could offer compliant states access to futuristic ray-gun technology. That would surely make non-compliant states’ leaders jealous.

“The Skin Melter 5000 offers urban police the protection they need against America’s increasingly militarized ne’er-do-well youth who like to wear hoodies and baggy pants.”

Or, the USDHS could partner with Hollywood Elites to offer compliant states the chance to be featured in made-for-cable movies about terrorists and the bad-ass, alternative Super Cops who must save the country.

As for me, I’m done paying attention to REAL ID nonsense until such a time as I’m barred from entering a federal courthouse or military base or fish hatchery. No more words on this boondoggle from me, friends.

You say I’ve developed an attitude problem about REAL ID? Yeah, but it’s just a little one.

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William W. Savage III holds a journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma. He covered two sessions of the Oklahoma Legislature for eCapitol.net before working in health care for six years. He is a nationally certified Mental Health First Aid instructor.