Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 37
Printed in the Warrensburg Gazette April 6, 2000

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

Census day has come & gone, and I wasn't counted. It appears that I'm a non-person because some census taker decided that nobody should be living at my home-based business address. A lady showed up on the front porch back in mid-March, was "shocked, shocked" to find someone living here, and headed off to talk to her supervisor. Haven't seen or heard from them since.

It's probably just as well that they're ignoring me, because that saves me the problem of deciding what to do about the reportedly intrusive questions. I don't have a copy of the questions in hand, but that shouldn't prevent me from commenting on the overall situation. The extensive advertising campaign by the Census Bureau says that if I don't answer, I'll lose our "share" of $185 billion in federal funds; they ignore the fact that this money is our tax money to begin with, and we could probably use it much more efficiently if it didn't have to make an expensive round trip to Washington (or Jeff City, for that matter).

I know that most of the questions have been asked before, but never before has there been such resistance. Why is that? Because our mistrust of government is at an all-time high. People don't believe information on individuals will be kept confidential. People don't believe it won't be used for political purposes, to manipulate votes or to punish enemies. They believe racial data will be used to gerrymander legislative districts and to further Balkanize Americans into smaller racial and ethnic minorities which are easier to manipulate. They believe the socio-economic data will be fed to politically favored corporations who will use it to extract tax subsidies to abandon one city for another. And, they know that census data was disclosed and used during Word War II to find & relocate American citizens of Japanese ancestry.

If they do find me, I'll answer enough questions to help future genealogists; beyond that my memory will become extremely fallible.

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