Reading privileges

Which card are we willing to give up?
Which card would Americans relinquish first—their driver’s license, Social Security card, voter’s registration or public library card? All four documents link us to a larger political and social reality, and each symbolizes something about the privileges and obligations of citizenship.

Most Americans would likely say they can’t get along without a driver’s license. Besides getting them from place to place, the car is a symbol of freedom and mobility. And most Americans cling tightly to their Social Security cards. After all, they’ve paid into the system and will demand what they’re entitled to get back. Many will need Social Security to make it through their retirement years.

The millions of Americans who don’t vote might consider the voter’s registration card expendable. And the resources of a public library might be deemed expendable too.


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