Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's a free country (*)

Today I made the trek to the Federal Building to apply for a replacement Social Security card. I made this trek because they need to see my government ID before they condescend to send me a card that isn't a government ID with a Social Security number that I provided them (i.e., I already know my SSN, all I need is the card to show my employer instead of my passport). I arrived at 1:30PM and promptly was directed to stand in a line outside the federal building. We were then called one at a time and subjected to the same screening that you get at airports to verify that we didn't have any stray nail files that might be used to gut a Social Security worker and that we had the proper papers to prove our identity to the satisfaction of the security screener. Then, and only then, were we allowed to enter the building and go to the almost-empty Social Security office (almost-empty because nobody was allowed to enter until somebody left the building). That was at 2:15PM for me.

I remember when you could just walk into a Social Security office, do your business, and walk out. But that was back when the Soviet Union was around, when the United States prided itself on being different from the Soviet Union. "In the Soviet Union", Reader's Digest proudly proclaimed, "you can't walk down the street without an armed police officer stopping you and asking you for your papers. We don't do that in free countries." For once, that right-wing loon DeWitt Wallace was right...

-- Badtux the Sovok Penguin
(*)For some definition of "free" that isn't in the dictionary.


  1. The lovely wife and I went to our local Social Security office a few weeks ago because, well, she's eligible for social Security now.

    We just walked into the Social Security office, did your business, and walked out.

    The difference is baffling.


  2. Um, I still have my original SS card. It's in the safety deposit box at my bank with my birth certificate.

  3. The U.S. is a nation of terrified ninnies. I spend a lot of time in government offices in Australia, mostly of the immigration kind. Wide-open. A trifle chaotic, with the milling swarms of people, but no atmosphere of fear. Ditto for Canada. The bureaucratic HQ in Vancouver where you get your "Social Insurance Number" is like the Department of Motor Vehicles used to be -- drab, slow, but not paranoid. Even the border post where we had to do some technicalities after getting here -- low-key, blah.

    The American attitude in many places (thankfully not Jazz's) is "Oh, you've come to do business in a government office so you're bound to go crazy and try to kill everyone." What a sad fucking commentary from Our Rulers about how they see the populace. Except maybe it's not all that wrong.

    I stand by my prediction that America will be drenched in self-shed blood within the next five years...

  4. In Soviet Union, Social Security card applies for you!

  5. Minimal security here in Atlanta, too. You walk in, take a number, and wait. There was a security guard when I went to get a replacement card a few months ago, but IIRC she was sound asleep at her desk.

  6. I have long noticed a correlation between the collapse of Communist world-domination & America's increased mistreatment of its citizens. Without Communism/Socialism competing for our hearts & minds, Capitalism has nothing to force it to have a heart. I wrote at length about that subject on my blog "Bring Back the Red Menace" at


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