David Pisarra

Tomorrow we will be inundated with statements and memories of that fateful day 18 years ago when planes were hijacked, buildings were destroyed, and heroes were created as lives were lost. 18 years makes an adult. 18 years should be enough for the wounds to heal, the horror we felt to subside and for justice to have prevailed.
But it hasn’t.
Sure we’ve caught and eliminated the mastermind behind the worst foreign terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Yes the World Trade Center has been rebuilt into Freedom Tower and life has moved on for most of us.
It’s easy to think you weren’t affected by the attacks if you didn’t know anyone who died in the Towers, or the plane crash in Pennsylvania or even the Pentagon (which still confuses me, and is the fountainhead of many a conspiracy theory). Truthfully though we all were affected, and still are.
I’m leaving tomorrow for a quick trip to Pennsylvania – a conference on Parental Alienation and its effects on the family, but to do that means I have to navigate my way past the Transportation Safety Authority, which is a constituent Department of Homeland Security. I will have to wait in lines and be inspected with x-rays and/or have my bags searched if, God forbid, I have too much toothpaste in the wrong size package. I will have to present formal identification, and soon we will have to be using a brand new level of proof of who we are with the “REAL ID” that proves to the government that I am who I say I am.
Coming soon, in a bit of a bureaucratic feedback loop I will have to either provide a U.S. passport to travel, or have my REAL ID, which oddly, I secured with having a passport…The story of how one gets a REAL ID is a study of governmental absurdity at its finest. You have to apply for the REAL ID with a Social Security card, a Passport and or a birth certificate, along with proof of your residency. In my first attempt at getting the REAL ID I somehow neglected to have proof of my Social Security card, silly me, I thought my passport would be sufficient, after all I can travel the world with it, why not to Texas? But I was wrong.
On my second attempt at getting the REAL ID, I had my Social Security card, my passport and a utility bill – which the clerk thought was sufficient and in line with Department protocols. She was wrong. The Department of Motor Vehicles then sent me a formal letter that verified my mailing address, and so long as I signed it and sent it back I would have confirmed my residency and they would now be satisfied that I was me.
All in all, it took me four hours and 2 minutes ( the signing and returning of their letter) to get the new upgraded version of proof the government needs that I am a U.S. Citizen, and they can believe the California Department of Vehicles California Driver’s License I hold.
In addition to all of that, I have been approved for the TSA’s Pre-Check and Global Entry system which is another level of security that I am who I am. I’ve used it in New Zealand, S. Africa and the United Kingdom. Currently I am waiting for the renewal of my entry in that program, but it’s taking an extended time to renew due to the government shutdown and the redeployment of resources at the southern border to defend against the invading hordes of Central Americans and Mexicans who are coming here to work in the fields.
I am hopeful that I will have my TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry renewal approved before the end of the year when I travel to Mexico – assuming they’ll allow the entry of Americans still.
It’s 18 years since that horrible morning. 18 years of watching our society become more scared, more xenophobic, more dysfunctional as the rot of fear permeates our lives. In 18 years I’ve seen people become more distrustful, more hateful and I don’t like it. Tomorrow is a day of remembrance; for those who died, but also for the way we lived, for a time that was more open, loving and sociable.
My thoughts go to those who died, and to those who suffered the loss of loved ones, but we all feel the effects of that day, one way or another.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra