Recently, I visited a local convenience store with the routine intent on purchasing bread and filling my car with gasoline. However, upon entering the store I quickly became aware of an altercation taking place between the cashier and a customer to whom she was providing service. As a customer-service employee, my attention was almost immediately commanded by the ensuing conflict, and my curiosity impelled me to observe the quarrel.
Apparently the man, whose hair had grayed and whose face had been wrinkled by the natural forces of time, was affronted by the cashier's request that he present a valid form of identification in order to purchase alcohol. This was a situation which I have come across many times in my job. As I watched the conflict develop, my sympathies were naturally directed toward the cashier, who, any reasonable individual could see, was simply carrying out the perfunctory affairs of her occupation.
However, as I considered the dynamic more thoughtfully, I began to perceive a more damning augury of what our society has become.
The most imperative question to be asked in this circumstance is simply this: for what reason should an individual who is clearly well above the drinking age be forced to perform the ludicrous and senseless task of presenting an identification for the purchase of an item which has been a standard and commonplace commodity in nearly every human society for thousands of years? If one were to allow a member of nearly any prior American generation to observe this scene, would that past observer believe that such a display of inefficient and childish bureaucracy could take place in the nation which once stood as the harbinger of freedom and democracy to the masses of the world?
Of course, I couldn't imagine that my deceased grandfather, a World War II veteran and independent farmer, would believe the government when it purported that such measures are taken to provide for the security of the American people, or even more absurdly, the American youth. I plead with my neighbors who have garnered age and wisdom over many decades of life here in the United States, when asked for your ID, do not direct your rightful indignation at us working-class Americans toiling behind the counter, but rather at your local government officials who ferociously enforce such trivial laws at the expense of basic freedom and sanity.
DARRELL J. GETMAN