Monday, March 15, 2010

An Irrational Fear of the Census

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

The 2010 Federal Census form arrived in my mail box today. It was personally addressed "To Resident At" followed by my address. I have read it, and will probably fill out the form tonight. It has a total of ten questions and will not even take a full ten minutes to complete.

For the life of me I can't figure out why Michele Bachmann got so twisted over the idea of complying with the census. She went on a rant about the results being used to place people into concentration camps, but the path from filling out a short form to being locked down alludes me. Ms. Bachmann may be in danger of eventually being locked down, but when and if that happens, it will be in an asylum - not a concentration camp!

So far I don't think that the right wing's other batshit crazy, Sarah Palin, has found a way to link the census with death panels, but I trust that she is working on it. (And yes, I know that the right wing has far more than two batshit crazies, but I am striving for economy of space.)

Here is what the insidious survey wants to know:

1. How many people will be living in my house on April 1, 2010? One crabby old man and one crabby old cat.

2. Am I sure no one else will be staying at my home on that date? Just me and the damned cat.

3. Do I own the place and is there a mortgage? Yes I do, and no there isn't.

4. What is my telephone number, in case they have questions about one or more of my answers? BR 549.

5. What is my last and first name? Rock, Pa

6. What is my sex? Neutered Male.

7. What is my age and date of birth as of April 1, 2010? 62 - 03231948

8. Am I of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin? No, senor..

9. What is my race? White.

10. Do I sometimes live or stay somewhere else? I wish!

And that is it - very lame stuff. I may be naive, but I don't see any trick questions that will get me put on a bus to Camp Swampy.

The government is spending several billion dollars trying to educate the public about how important the census is. This national count is what determines how many congressmen each state gets. (Wouldn't it be sweet if Michele Bachmann got so many Minnesotans to ignore the census that her congressional district was eliminated?) The census also determines the ratio of federal money that goes to each state. It is in every state's best interest that all of their residents get counted.

Unfortunately, some populations are traditionally under-counted. This year it is widely assumed that many Hispanics will ignore the census out of a fear that information will be turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. That is not the purpose, and, despite significant assurances to the contrary, Hispanics in certain areas of the country where racism runs rampant - Arizona, for example - are likely to skip the national count. There is nothing on the census form that asks about citizenship or immigration status, but trust comes hard in a hillbilly police state.

Arizona screws itself again!


Mike Box said...

Fear mongering refuses to relent. If the radical wrong elements of the GOP ran on emirical data they would be a third party.

I think you missed the question on race. I am pretty sure that you are of the human race, the old homo sapiens. You are a wise or knowing man. Your ethnicity is white. But can you imagine a person being called an ethnicitist!

You recall what Stanley Vining taught in PLS 102 - that the function of the legislator is to bring home the goodies of government. Hence we have the census to try and get the equitable baseline of distribution. Or as Uncle Elzie would say: "Don't put all your eggs in one basket."

Pa Rock's Ramble said...

I like your answer regarding race, Mike. The census is multiple choice on that question, and it uses the term "white." If they had listed "caucasian" that would have really set the know-nothings off! And Bachmann's troops wouldn't like "human" either, because it sounds too much like "humanist."