Below is a letter to the editor I penned to a local newspaper regarding the U.S. Census.
It with much frustration that I share my first-hand training experience of becoming an enumerator for the U.S. Census Bureau here in Dutchess County. The displeasure I possess does not stem from my sympathetic trainer but rather from the insulting way in which the program itself makes me the citizen painfully aware of the arrogance by which the Bureau and the government it represents operate.
I wish I had been notified the first day of training that the oath we all took to “defend the Constitution” would be broken the very same week. Article I Section 2 specifically outlines “representation”as the only reason given for conducting the census. Why must citizens be told in writing that they are required by law to answer every question on the form whether it pertains to representation or not? Yes indeed, before an enumerator records any information pertaining to the form, the citizen is handed a paper claiming it mandatory to comply with all questions. The laws cited as reasons for submission are Titles 13 and 44, both having to do with privacy and irrelevant to the citizen’s level of compliance. I personally requested permission to avoid this situation by asking my superiors at the Bureau if I was allowed to notify citizens of their right to refuse questions not pertaining to enumeration. I was of course refused this request.
Interrogations not having to do with representation include questions pertaining to race and ownership status. I asked my trainer about the reasons for such questions and was given an, “I don’t know, must be something to do with government programs,” response. Last time I checked the only constitutional governmental reason for needing racial information involved counting slaves as 3/5 of a person. Perhaps this is still in effect and I just wasn’t notified?
Another suspicious element within the enumerator training materials is a section on “Household Residential Rules.” According to the rules I am required to count all foreign citizens living in the United States except exchange students. I asked if this meant I had to count illegal aliens, and again, why it was pertinent information given that citizens are the ones represented in congress? My answers were, “Yes,” and, “Must be a government program.”
Coming home after the second day of training I went to the Census Bureau website to find out how they justified their non-compliance with the Constitution. The reason given was insulting. “Enumerated powers?” Really? Section 8 says, “To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.” A common sense person knows this means we carry out the intent of law, not change the intent itself- which is exactly what the Census Bureau is doing- obtaining as much information as possible for gerrymandering purposes.
Here’s a word of advice to all those first time non-responders out there. Graduate by becoming a second time non-responder. Refuse to answer questions pertaining to anything but representation, and hand the enumerator who shows up at your door a copy of the Constitution if he argues. We could all do well to educate ourselves a little. Only then can an arrogant federal government be exposed for what it truly is.