Sunday, June 17, 2012

identification cards

Identification cards have become a big deal in terms of blocking people who are eligible from voting. I was certainly an urban priest long enough to know lots and lots of people don't have any form of photo ID. Most of the people who have a photo ID--driver's license or passport--also have credit cards in their wallet. So the 'photo ID' requirement to vote is obviously aimed to stop the poor--who would, if they have the sense I think they do, vote for Democrats--from voting.

All this came clear to me when I was looking for something else and found my photo ID from the Anawalt City Schools from 1953-54. There I am, a goofy looking kid to begin with, when I was in first grade. I don't have glasses yet, which made me look even goofier, because it was half-way through first grade when people got the idea that I couldn't see for crap. Because stuff was written on the black board and I couldn't see it, I thought that meant I couldn't learn it. I was in danger of flunking out of first grade when I went up to ask the teacher a question at her desk--Mrs. Bingham was her name (Mrs. Santie was second grade, Mrs. Short third grade and the evil witch Miss Hawkins was fourth grade). Standing by her desk I saw letters and words and numbers on the black board (they really were black back then) and told her I might be able to learn that stuff because I could see it.

She called my parents and they took me to an optometrist who determined I was 20/300 nearsighted and gave me glasses to make me goofier looking.

We knew our kids would be near sighted since both Bern and I were, so Josh got glasses at 4 or 5 and Mimi did too.

Anyway, imagine the world blurred and hazy for 6 years and you, as a kid, don't know that's not what the world really looks like....

There I am, on my first grade photo ID, still blond, my eyes out of focus, my hair in a gelled up crew cut, a blindingly complicated shirt on. I wrote my name in cursive, spelling it as "Jimmy Bradley" which put the 'y' of Bradley on my right ear in the photo. The line below my name said "Issued By" and I wrote in "F.B.I.". Even then I was a big government, yellow dog Democrat, but I had a photo ID. I could have voted in Florida where having a photo ID is more important than being 6 years old.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.