The Census – What Sense to Us does it make?

The Magnificent Eagle

I recall during the 2004 election season that many well known Hollywood types would offer sound bites expressing fear, even panic, at the thought of another four years with Bush in the White House. Many declared they’d move out of the country for fear of losing their privacy to the Right Wing Wackos, authors of the Patriot Act.  In 2008, the same garbage was spewed by “the other side” when the thought of living under the liberal tyranny of an Obama administration loomed.  No one has left the country of course, it was all grand standing. Too bad, I don’t think it would be so bad for many of the extremist on both sides of the aisle to depart our borders.  I’m not alone in this thinking either.

We ought never be characterize ourselves as lofty, magnificent creatures like eagles or bears or lions;

No, we are best understood as FROGS!

Toss a frog into hot water and it makes a hasty retreat to cooler places, it instinctively knows you only get boiled if you are on the dinner menu.  Place a frog in a nice cool pot and it’s as happy as any amphibian could ever be, however (and this is a big ‘however’), slowly increase the temperature to the boiling point and the frog will not move to free itself. It would appear that frogs only object to the suddenness of being cooked. Hence, cooking us all over a long period of time and we’re not particularly alarmed.  I think I taste best with lots of spices.

I was sent a link to a YouTube video about the 2010 Census.  It’s a bid disturbing, frankly speaking. Over the past 234 years we’ve been “slow cooked” by an expanding government with a voracious appetite.  This water is feeling a bit to warm to me.


I make no secret of the fact I am disenchanted with what has become of our political scene, even to the point of starting a website as a platform to express my angst.  It’s appropriately called Voters Against Incumbents.  I’m not so sure the 2010 Census folks will be happy with me when I turn them away with only the “body count” details of those in my home.  I think that is protected and authorized in our constitution.  The thought that being compelled to disclose more is frightening.  For those of you who truly know me, you know when I say that even under a Republican controlled government I’d be equally afraid, you know I’m being straight and honest.

If I must be a frog, then I am choosing to only remain in the water for brief periods. This way, when I MUST be in the water I’ll know if I’m on the dinner menu.

Thanks for reading AND watching this far.


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2 Responses

  1. Tim Hief says:

    All good points Eric. I see the value of collecting and leveraging the information to public benefit. The primary bone of contention for me, and I believe what should be a flag of caution to all, is the fact that we face potential fines for NOT filling it out with all the bits and pieces of detail they want. It’s one thing to support the constitutional request for counting us, it’s quite a different matter to be compelled, on threat of fines, to pony up more than what is required.

    I’ve filled out the census without worries in the past, but I’m slowing understand what all the fuss is about when we are warned of the government changing the ground rules without doing so the right way.

    I feel the same way about the Patriot Act, much of it crosses constitutional protections too. The government over stepping is a common problem, it’s why watchdog organizations like EFF are a good thing, for example.

  2. Eric Nelson says:

    There is, actually, some pretty compelling reasons why people may want to give the Census more than just numerical information. Being able to project public needs more accurately, being able to get reasonably accurate demographic information upon which public resources can be distributed more fairly, and being able to track changes in American social, racial, age, and economic demographics are reasons, among others. The Census is, in large measure, the count on which political power and resources should depend, and one of the only ways to accurately forecast such needs. But to do that, you have to count more than just bodies.

    Besides,= it is not just the government who uses this data — it’s also social researchers, policy researchers, urban and rural planners, and historians from left, right, and center. It would be nice if they had at least an accurate picture of America to argue over.

    Now, I’m not saying that I think we should just hand over any and all information willy-nilly, but trying to cast the Census as some onerous and sinister plot, to portray the people who hire on temporarily to try and help accomplish it as Jack-boots, and to encourage people to harass and try to embarrass them is really unconscionable. And the fact the Census turned down responding to his list of questions (if, in fact they did), which he could actually find answers to on line if he cared to look, doesn’t surprise me. It’s pretty obvious that it’s a set-up for his own agenda and that he’s selling fear more than trying to find out the answers or to provide an accurate picture of the balance between the authority to collect census information and a right to privacy.