The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kansas will host “a community kickoff event” on August 15 to introduce the ID of providing Wyandotte County residents a “municipal ID.” 

The Kansas City Star turned to local ACLU board chairman Susan Estes to explain why a municipal ID is a good idea. Not as well schooled in world history as she might be, Estes turns to Mussolini-style fascism for her metaphors. Someone at the Star should have caught this rather spectacular gaffe–here is hoping it was a gaffe–but the editors apparently do not know their history any better than the ACLU.

Although the paper provided ample space for this “Special to the Star” Estes writes so circuitously that the reader has no better idea at the end of the article than at the beginning why such an ID is needed.

The obfuscation and misdirection begin with the opening paragraph. “Healthy societies have a civic symbiosis,” Estes writes as though being paid by the word. “They say, ‘Because we are, I am, and because I am, we are.’ They make room for everyone to contribute.”


After reciting an entirely gratuitous history of the Quindaro District, Estes gets to the point, sort of. Today, there is a “new group of people” in Wyandotte County. A municipal ID helps to ensure “their dignity and well being.”

“It’s the gateway to obtaining health care, opening a checking account or purchasing a car,” Estes tells the reader. “That’s why Wyandotte County needs municipal ID.”

Who are these new people? Not until the ninth paragraph does Estes use the word “immigrants,” roughly 11,000 of whom in Wyandotte County are “undocumented.” In the following eight paragraphs, she cloaks illegal aliens under the rubric “immigrant community” and makes no further reference to their unapologetic, cross-border B & E.

Then we get the dangerous part of Estes’ program. It is not just about buying cars and opening bank accounts. It’s ultimately about voting. “Democracy demands participation, and the more engaged our citizenry, the healthier our civic culture will be,” Estes writes. “But with wide swaths of our friends and neighbors unable to participate, the health of that culture is at stake.” 

Not fully aware of history beyond Wyandotte County, Estes repeatedly uses the metaphor of a bundle of sticks–the alleged meaning of “Quindaro” in Wyandot Indian–as a way of saying, “in union, there is strength.”

Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

“A municipal identification card offers a commonsense path to a common good,” Estes writes in conclusion. “Every stick added to our bundle makes us that much stronger.”

The American left has never really thought through its ideology, let alone its iconography. As a case in point, the hard left Democratic Underground offers an historical perspective on stick bundling radically at odds with Ms. Estes. It is one she and the Star would do well to learn.

The Democratic Underground does not get much right, but this one it does: “Did you know that the basis of fascism is a bundle of sticks? The word fascism has as its root in the Latin word “Fasces” or a bundle of sticks.” The Underground continues, “The individual stick represents citizens and the bundle overall represents the state.” Exactly.

The tighter the state grips those sticks, the more the individual citizen gets squeezed. A word to the the stick bundlers at the ACLU in their quest for municipal IDs, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”



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