Mail It In, Already!

A comedy sketch from this weekend’s installment of Saturday Night Live might have been poking fun of Americans who are a little pensive with regard to filling out and remitting their 2010 census forms, but I’ll tell you what: you can count me among those concerned about this year’s census — but not for the reasons those on the left might think.

Because of the fear inherent in those on the American left of normal, everyday citizens who have minimal trust in government, and because of the derision we’ve seen toward the Tea Party movement as a manifestation of that fear, a lot has been made this spring with regard to wary conservatives and libertarians who are choosing not to return the census forms.

And there’s a legitimate fear there. Reasonable people fearing the government–rather than the government fearing the people–is a tell-tale sign of tyranny.  Allowing that fear, however, to bar you from returning the census form is not just taking things a bit overboard, but it’s also quite a bit counterproductive.

And therein lies my fear.

My fear stems from the vital importance of the United States Census.  It isn’t just about determining how many city buses we need and how many new hospital beds are required to better service a given area.  It’s about representation.  It’s about power.  It’s about whether our votes count.

In this growing entitlement society, it’s easy to look at the census as a mailing address for that next government check.  That’s certainly how it is being aggressively marketed in America’s urban areas.  But the census is about the power of the vote.

Say, for example, that of the 100,000 people in a rural area of Pennsylvania, 75,000 of them were not counted because they did not feel comfortable with the census forms.  Now, say that an urban area containing 100,000 people was mis-counted and, instead, that area showed 140,000 people instead of the real number.  As far as the U.S. House of Representatives is concerned, only 25,000 people live in that rural area while 140,000 live in that urban area — when the congressional district lines are redrawn, when the electoral college lines are restructured, guess which area will receive more representation?  Guess whose votes will count more?

That’s right.  And that’s my fear. I don’t worry that the government wants to know how old my daughter is.  I don’t worry that the government wants to ask me three different questions to determine just how Hispanic I am.  I worry that, after this count is done, I will not be represented as well as I should.

Heck, isn’t this what this renewed sense of political activism on the right is all about?  Aren’t we all clamoring to be actually heard by those on Capitol Hill?  By not returning the census forms, we are only silencing ourselves.

And it’s worse than that.  By actively refusing to comply, we are doing the left’s dirty work for them.

Poll after poll has shown, for years, that the United States of America is a center-right nation. We know this.  But for years, the American left has been trying desperately to find ways in which they can level the playing field, downplay that center-right advantage and increase the political viability of their own popular minority.  The census, and the power which it holds, has been at center stage.

Of course, we all heard about how the White House was pushing for ACORN, the same organization which registered Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and so many other fraudulent entities and personalities to vote in the 2008 presidential election, to be involved in the count.  If ACORN could register Freddie Jackson, an Ohio resident, 73 separate times to vote in that year’s election, after all, consider the effect they could have on the census.  Thankfully, it didn’t work out, as public scrutiny actually won the day.

Perhaps the biggest way that the left has traditionally attempted to mess around with the count has been through the way in which the count was actually performed.  It’s the difference between two methods–actual enumeration and statistical sampling–which matter. And, with control of the2010 having been successfully moved by this White House away from the apolitical Commerce Department, and with both the reapportionment of U.S. House seats and the redistricting of the several states depending upon accurate census numbers, the distinction between actual enumeration and statistical sampling has never been so crucial.

Statistical sampling uses mathematical equations–or “guesstimates”–to estimate the amount of people in a given area.  To be honest, I’m not certain how people are counted without being counted (I’m amazed that the Census folks know how many forms to send out in the first place!), but I do know that one of the biggest supporter for statistical sampling is a man by the name of Robert Groves, a former professor from the University of Michigan who was chosen by President Barack Obama to serve as director of this year’s census. In other words, to orchestrate a vital count of the American people, the president chose a man who really doesn’t like counting.

Actual enumeration, on the other hand, is the practice of actually counting those who live here—legally or illegally—in the United States of America, and using those actual numbers to reapportion House seats and re-draw the boundaries of congressional districts in each state. Sounds good, right?  Well, there’s a bonus — actual enumeration is actually required by Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, and our founders were quite clear about its use.  From a year-old piece here at America’s Right:

The third clause of Article I, Section 2 is fairly straight-forward: “The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.” The Constitution says nothing to distinguish citizens from non-citizens, nor do any of the contemporaneous writings from our founders.

Alexander Hamilton wrote, in Federalist No. 36, that “an actual census or enumeration of the people must furnish the rule, a circumstance which effectively shuts the door to partiality or oppression.” George Washington, in a 1791 letter to Gouverneur Morris, cited the advantages of and need for an actual count rather than an estimation by arguing that an estimate “of the number of inhabitants which would probably be found in the United States on enumeration” was likely too large. And even the Census Act of 1790 stated unequivocally the requirement of “a just and perfect enumeration and description of all persons resident within [census takers'] districts.”

Unfortunately, as I also pointed out in that year-old piece, the Constitution and many contemporaneous writings by our founders are very clear that everybody is to be counted.  Including people here illegally.

See, the census is intended to essentially serve as a “snapshot” of America on April 1 of the census year.  If you have a Guatemalan family in your basement, they are to be counted.  Partiality?  Oppression?  In the words of Alexander Hamilton: “Shut the door.”

As I look at it, those of us who want to reclaim America as a nation made unique by its limited federal government are already fighting an uphill battle against a growing entitlement society and the mounting debt and dearth of liberty which accompany it.  Why make our mission all the more difficult by stacking the deck against ourselves in terms of redistricting and reapportionment?

So, that’s my fear.  I fear that the very people who do not trust the government to represent their own values and perspective will only weaken their own voice.  I fear that they will unconsciously do the bidding of the left while believing themselves to be right.

Ten questions.  That’s it.  They want your name.  They want to know how many people live in your house.  They want to know if you’re Hispanic.  They want to know if you’re sure you are/are not Hispanic.  And they want to ask how Hispanic you are.  That’s it.  Fill it out, mail it in already, and please tell your family and friends to do the same.

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Comments

  1. Chuck in San Diego says:

    During genealogy work I have noticed that the current Census questions are not any different than the answers recorded as far back at 1840. It’s pretty obvious that people in general are getting a little edgy concerning this administration’s collection and use of data that might be used against them.

  2. Boston Blackie says:

    I sent it back with a head count and head count only!

  3. Gail B. says:

    Done, and, I added that I was born in NC, that my father was born in NC, and that my mother was born in VA. That info appears on census data in late 1800s and early 1900s. It is helpful when becoming available 72 years later when descendants research genealogy. (Why was that not asked on the 2010 census?)

  4. Gail B. says:

    My concern is the reason for the White House getting the information, instead of the Commerce Department.

  5. Kelly says:

    For me, I don’t have an issue with the 10 questions they are asking on the actual census form, however many people I know have been getting a second, much longer and detailed form, in the mail after sending in their first 10 questions. It’s called the “American Community Survey” and you can find information about it here:

    http://www.census.gov/acs/www/SBasics/acs_2010.htm

    They are saying it’s part of the census and that it’s mandatory to fill out. However, many of the questions just seem extremely too personal and things that they government doesn’t really need to know, or doesn’t have the authority to require citizens to answer. Some questions include:

    Do you currently have health insurance?
    Have you given birth in the last 12 months?
    Do you have difficulty dressing or bathing?
    What kind of company you work for (non profit, government, private, etc)?

    Here is a link to the PDF of the sample form:

    http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/ACS-1%28info%29%282010%29%20Stateside%20English_web.pdf

    I think that THIS is the form that a lot of people are having issues with.

    I’d love to get your take on this.

  6. TJ says:

    But if all they need are numbers, then why do they need your name, age, race, and whether you own or rent?

  7. Gail B. says:

    Well, here’s another worry for you, Jeff:

    I just returned from getting my mail, and there was a SECOND 2010 Census form for me to fill out. How many times are they going to count me?!

  8. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Gail — be careful. There are Census scams out there. Only return one, and not the one that asks for your social security number, blood type, bank account routing number, etc.

  9. Gail B. says:

    From Lynn Westmoreland, (R – GA-3rd):
    “The AJC (Atlanta Journal and Constitution) today has this story about kicking off the 2010 census effort and my role as chair of the House Republican Census Task Force. It’s CRUCIAL that all Georgians accurately fill out and return their census forms. It will save hundreds of millions and assure that Georgia gets a new seat — our 14th — in the U.S. House next decade.”

  10. John Buyon says:

    lol
    Jeff you are absolutely right
    funny how tea party “patriots” so worked up by irrationality, are going to go to the extreme of not counting themselves, and subsequently get less representation.
    funny “they are doing the bidding of the left ” so true if only they knew it !

    stop making fun of ACORN !!!

    funny how the right wing has no problem with activist groups promoting pro-big business interests ( heritage, A.E.I., PNAC )
    yet when it comes to registering poor, working class people to vote, its an outrage!

    do want to know the truth about ACORN?
    it is this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF779J5DDAc

  11. Oh Canada says:

    I’m thinking of hooking, where can I get tax dodging advice? Shoot!, ACORN has morphed??????

    If you’re not smart enough on your own to register to vote, sorry. Maybe that is best for all of us.

  12. On the payroll says:

    Speaking of ACORN, there is a NUT in here who hasn’t fallen far from the tree.

  13. A CORNY idea says:

    What part of spending 8,000,000,000 dollars when the government is already bankrupt just to facilitate a few more votes makes sense to you?

  14. Anonymous says:

    “stop making fun of ACORN !!!”

    I will not

  15. I think this administration intends to misuse the census information to re-district in order to steal the next election. Between the amnesty, counting illegal aliens, the IT inaccuracies announced regarding the count, and the intent to register felons, it is clear that they do not have the nation’s best interest at heart.

    That said, I refused to answer all the nosy questions that they asked. I entered the number living in my household which is the only relevant information required to provide me with representation. I included a copy of the constitution when I sent it back. And just to irritate them, I entered “American” as race. If everyone is supposed to be equal here, I don’t see why this information is relevant, but I wanted to make a point that we are all Americans. ….actually, I almost entered “human” but decided to go with American instead.

  16. John Buyon says:

    8,000,000,000 dollars ? what the hell are you talking about?
    post a link to prove it idiot

    did you watch the you tube video I posted?
    no of course not you goons would beleive anything beck and rush tell ya.

    do you know why organizations like ACORN were invented?
    to get poor working class people to register to vote, since they were not being represented in congress
    do you know when?
    1960′s-70′s when the civil rights voting acts were approved to get the black poor people to vote.

    Now I know conservatives hate it when minorities, and poor people have a voice in government but your just gonna have to live with it

  17. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Watch the name-calling, on all sides.

    That being said, the “idiot” is indeed wrong. It was something like $5.4 billion being designated to organizations like ACORN in the stimulus bill. Now, as for the rest, a few questions:

    1. How are poor, working class people not represented in Congress?
    b. Why can’t poor, working class people register to vote on their own?
    III. By “poor, working class people,” do you mean the front line of the Dallas Cowboys, who were all fraudulently registered to vote in Las Vegas by ACORN workers? Or Mickey Mouse, who was fraudulently registered to vote in Orlando? Or the guy in Ohio who was registered to vote 73 times?

    There’s a reason that ACORN was being investigated in more than a dozen states for voter fraud in the wake of the 2008 election, which says nothing about investigations following prior elections and regarding voter fraud in Washington State. Beneficial or not, an organization with that kind of track record when it comes to counting people has no business whatsoever being relied upon to count people in the census, especially when those in charge of the census advocate “counting” through statistical sampling.

    And seriously — I mean it about the name-calling. Even more so from those on the right — if a liberal like John wants to embarrass himself by descending into name-calling, let him. Let’s be better than that.

    Jeff

  18. John Buyon says:

    OMG legally ACORN HAS to hand in all forms it gets, it cant discriminate.
    look at this video that is the truth about acorn
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF779J5DDAc

    I am not sure how ACORN was given $ in the stimulus bill
    post a link please if we are dealing with facts

    1. How are poor, working class people not represented in Congress?

    they are now because of the good work done by ACORN and other organizations like it.

    2. Why can’t poor, working class people register to vote on their own?

    :) lots of reasons
    originally only male white property holders were allowed to vote, then all property holders, than women etc… then no poll taxes then black people, then came discriminatory practices by republicans/ right wingers to disenfranchise the poor and black voters, because they tended to vote for the other guy, so liberal groups tried to change that by setting up ACORNish organizations to ensure that the underclass was not disenfranchised

    once again links to prove my facts are legit :
    http://www.umich.edu/~lawrace/disenfranchise1.htm

  19. Leah says:

    My friend told me in the last census a worker came to her door, and asked her all the questions. She admitted that her father’s grandfather came from Spain, so the woman wrote down she was Hispanic.

    I answered the first question, how many people are in my house. The government gets my IRS form. They have all the other information on that. I did my duty and am done.

    Question for John: If someone is unable to figure out how to register to vote, then how are they going to be able to pick someone when they go and vote? (Just FYI, we are working class.)

  20. Anonymous says:

    I don’t ‘believe’ what Rush and Glenn say, I take what they say, intermingle it with my own life experience which is more than twice that of one certain Canadian, weigh the audio AND video evidence they present, and come away with my own intelligent interpretation of where this bankrupt country is headed. I have no political idols, can John say the same?

  21. PattyW says:

    I think all the ads for mailing the census back were prompted by the mistake made when the things were printed without a “Return By” date on them.
    As for the race questions: A person can be “African/ American” and be “White”. None of the categories listed to check off were races. They were colors or locations. Most people would need a DNA test to determine their predominate “race”. Since I have not had a DNA test done, my race was, “Other- North American”

  22. Roadrunner says:

    I must take issue with your article. As we both know, the Constitution demands a count of all the people every ten years. There is nothing in that founding document that refers to either illegals or to any other concern.

    Asking if I am harboring any hispanics is no less offensive than asking me if I have one blue eye and one brown eye, if I am gay or straight, or if I walk with a limp, or if I believe in God or not. It’s none of their business and it does nothing to further the very reason for us to count people. And then there’s that issue.

    The reason that the Constitution doesn’t talk about counting illegals is because at that time there weren’t any. So let’s look at the primary reason to know why we need to be counted. Simply, it’s to make sure that all the people are properly represented in the House. The Federal Government is a gift from the people and the states. Each person and each state needs to be properly represented in the House. The only way you can be guaranteed that will be the case is to count the people. We do not desire to represent illegals. For all intense and purpose, they do not exist in this country to be represented. They should be, as the founders expected, deported immediately and are not a factor in the count. Their presence here is a mistake. A huge mistake of Government. Counting them in the census is another mistake and UN-Constitutional.

    This census questionair, with it’s multi pages, focuses heavily on hispanics living in your home. Why not Jews or Germans or Indians? Why not bald men, short people and clergy? It has nothing to do with the mission of the census and Americans are tired of listening to the panderings of this government to Hispanics and other illegals. Both parties have failed to insure the safety of the nation where illegals are concerned and the very borders that let them in. Both parties, along with a vast number of greedy americans have made it possible for them to be housed, schooled, given health care, food stamps, jobs and protection from criminals and fire. We’re fed up with it and all we need to do is to tell the census people how many people live in our homes and that’s it. Nothing more and nothing less.

    If the founders of our nation had any idea that future Congresses and Presidents would violate the Constitution and the protections afforded under that document making it possible for illegals to live here, they would have added the clause, “except the persons living here illegally”!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Standing ovation for Roadrunner.

  24. John Buyon says:

    @ Leah : “Question for John: If someone is unable to figure out how to register to vote, then how are they going to be able to pick someone when they go and vote? (Just FYI, we are working class.)”

    conservatives/ republicans purposely made it difficult to vote, especially for underclass because underclass usually supports liberals/progressives.
    read the link I posted ( it describes some of the methods for voter disenfranchisement in the past that were brought down by the good people and good work of ACORN and affiliated groups
    here it is again:
    http://www.umich.edu/~lawrace/disenfranchise1.htm

    BTW to those who cite rush Limbaugh and Beck as sources
    your a joke and you don’t even understand what is going on.

  25. Gail B. says:

    Thanks, Roadrunner!

    You know, it takes some pretty low-down people to THINK UP ways to undermine the Constitution, all for the sake of money and power.

    The Constitution does now say anything about illegal aliens. Our congressional representatives do not represent citizens of other countries, so why should the illegals be counted? If the law enforcement agencies and ICE would do their jobs — and DEPORT them — a number of positive things would happen:

    o There would be more jobs available for Americans;
    o There would be less of a financial strain due to reduced numbers of students, classrooms, teachers, etc.;
    o The crime rate would go down measurably;
    o Since most of the money made by illegals is sent back to their native country, it would keep that money in the United States;
    o Our economy would get a boost from the additional income;
    o Unemployment payments would be greatly reduced;
    o We would be able to read food labels in English only again; and
    o We wouldn’t have to “PRESS 1 FOR ENGLISH” any longer!

    As for “anchor babies,” if those being deported don’t want to leave their spouses and/or children, they should take the family member(s) with them to their own country.

    Problem solved!

  26. Anonymous says:

    ‘your’ a joke with your Canadian grammar

  27. Gail B. says:

    Those who do not have a form should call one of the phone numbers below to request delivery. Forms are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Russian.

    English – 1-866-872-6868
    Chinese: 1-866-935-2010
    Korean: 1-866-955-2010
    Russian: 1-866-965-2010
    Spanish: 1-866-928-2010
    Vietnamese: 1-866-945-2010
    TDD (Telephone Display Device for the hearing impaired):
    1-866-783-2010

    (This message is from GA Rep. Hank Johnson.) (And we’re working hard to get him “Yanked!” Vote for Liz Carter!)

  28. Chris says:

    Jeff, well written. I do however disagree somewhat on the finer points. The
    American Community Survey should never be combined with the Census. As it is soely intended for the use of the State, not the federal Government. Secondly, the Federal Government does not have the Constitutional right to demand information of personal privacy just to enumerate the people of this nation.

    Personally, what I did was simply fill in 1 question. “How many people were
    living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home as of April 1,
    2010. To which I answered the number. That is it, nothing else. I then
    included a letter saying this:

    Natural Born American Citizens
    (Address redacted)

    Notice, US Department of Commerse;

    Pursuant to Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 as defined and mandated by the
    United States Constitution: The only information the U.S. Census Bureau is
    empowered to request is the enumeration of individuals living in this
    household.

    To that decree, I answer under oath to the Constitution of the United States
    of America there are (# redacted) Natural Born American Citizens whom reside
    within this household.

    However, our names, sex, age, dates of births, ethnicity, relationship, and
    housing tenure have absolutely nothing to do with apportion of direct taxes,
    or apportion the number of seats in the House of Representatives.

    I cannot be subject to a fine or other punitive punishment for basing my
    conduct on the Constitutional limitations of powers imposed upon the Federal
    Government. Congress nor the Census Bureau has neither the Constitutional
    nor Civil authority to make invasions of privacy an integral component of
    this enumeration.

    “Article I, Section 2, of our constitution reads: “The actual Enumeration
    shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of
    the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such
    Manner as they shall by Law direct.” The purpose of the headcount is to
    apportion the number of seats in the House of Representatives and derived
    from that, along with two senators from each state, the number of electors
    to the Electoral College.

    Should you refute these, my personal rights to privacy as an American
    Citizen and resident therein, pay heed:

    Interstate Commerce Commission v. Brimson, 154 U.S. 447, 479 (May 26, 1894):

    “Neither branch of the legislative department, still less any merely
    administrative body, established by congress, possesses, or can be invested
    with, a general power of making inquiry into the private affairs of the
    citizen. Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U.S. 168, 190. We said in Boyd v. U.S.,
    116 U. S. 616, 630, 6 Sup. Ct. 524,―and it cannot be too often
    repeated,―that the principles that embody the essence of constitutional
    liberty and security forbid all invasions on the part of government and its
    employees of the sanctity of a man’s home and the privacies of his life. As
    said by Mr. Justice Field in Re Pacific Ry. Commission, 32 Fed. 241, 250,
    ‘of all the rights of the citizen, few are of greater importance or more
    essential to his peace and happiness than the right of personal security,
    and that involves, not merely protection of his person from assault, but
    exemption of his private affairs, books, and papers from inspection and
    scrutiny of others. Without the enjoyment of this right, all others would
    lose half their value.”

  29. D.C., bite me says:

    Standing ovation to Chris.

  30. Chris says:

    Thanks D.C.

    However I’m not done as of yet. I know I will get a visit from the Census trolls, because in their limited education, I did not fill out my Census form completely. I already have a plan of attack for that visit as well.

    The moment they ask me any question which constitutes a violation of privacy, or simply start recording information in their little PDAs and whatnot based only upon their observations. I am simply going to ask them if they are going to read me my Miranda rights first. If they do not I will call the Police, and have them Cited/forcibly removed from my property and/or arrested for violating the list of Laws I’ve been provided by my Lawyer.

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