The other day I had the distinguished privilege of receiving the “American Community Survey,” which is the politically correct term for the long form of the census. It is the most obscene invasion of privacy that I’ve ever seen. It has 456 questions (more if you have over 6 people living in your home). I’d have already shredded this tripe if it weren’t for the “Your Response is Required By Law” emblazoned on the envelope.
I’m pondering my response. I considered writing the US Department of Commerce, US Census Bureau saying, “Dear Neo-Fascist Swine...” But I figured that might get me on the domestic terrorist list. I crossed that off my list of possibilities. But seriously, doesn’t anyone remember that it’s this kind of thing that allowed the Nazis to round up the Jews in the Netherlands? This is why my grandparents’ best friends disappeared one night never to be seen again.
I considered filling out part of the form—the “name, rank, and serial number” approach. After all, I did fill out the short form, which the Constitution requires me to do. But wouldn’t that be redundant? I could honestly tell the Census worker who will soon be coming to my door, “I filled out the census form and mailed it.”
Of course, there’s always the identity theft issue. But I’m “assured” by their paperwork that any census bureau employee could be fined or jailed for releasing my information. That, of course, assumes that they could actually pinpoint who stole my information. And that doesn’t take into account the 200 census bureau laptops that were stolen. Yeah, my information is safe, really safe.
Why does the government need to know if I “have an emotional condition?” As a matter of fact, I do have an emotional condition. I’m really, really angry that they’re going to try and force me to tell them if I “have difficulty climbing stairs” or if I can “bathe myself.”
I’ve also considered treating the form with creative dissent. What is our ethnicity? Venusian. What do we live in? A pod left by the mother ship. When was it built? 2111—we toured the universe at light speed before we arrived here so with the whole relativity thing, we arrived before we left. Kind cool if you think about it.
Apparently, the Census Bureau believes lying is an acceptable alternative. I read about one man who refused to fill out the ACS and the census worker asked him to fill out just one question, any question he liked, and he could even make up an answer.
What have I decided to do? Nothing. In the words of Frederick the Wise, “There are two ways to say no to someone more powerful than yourself. You can say nothing and go on doing what you were doing before and pretend that you never heard, and make time and inertia your allies. Or you can say no in such a kind and thoughtful way that it befuddles them.” I guess “kind and thoughtful” rules out the “neofascist swine” approach. Now I’m relying on time and inertia, which probably means that a phone call or a census worker visit may soon follow. I do have an ace up my sleeve. No where on the form is there a due date. It only says that I need to fill it out “as soon as possible.” I’m thinking I can find some time in 2111. What can I say, I’m really busy.
(Dear Readers, Sorry this post is late. Blogger was having some problems. Plus, it appears that comments have been "eaten." I'll remedy what I can. Thanks. cmk)