We just got our Census form in the mail. Well, its not the census form, its the warm-up census form, telling us that were going to get the census form shortly and to look forward to it. We have a week to get all excited before the main event (guess this is what the Department of Commerce calls foreplay). The first part of the letter is in big print in English but at the bottom there are instructions in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Russian on how to get to the census web site for more information (readers of Portuguese, Japanese, Cherokee and Hindi are just out of luck I guess).
But heres the part that interests me. The letter tells me:
Your response is important. Results from the 2010 Census will be used to help each community get its fair share of government funds for highways, schools, health facilities, and many other programs you and your neighbors need. Without a complete, accurate census, your community may not receive its fair share.
I thought that the main purpose of the census was to preserve the Republic by fairly appropriating representation in the House of Representatives, electors, and direct taxes, at least thats how I read that bit of Article One, Section 2 of the Constitution. OK, it was never that simple: theres all that business about Indians not being counted and only three/fifths of a slave (which meant I guessat least on an account bookyou could hack a slave apart and count two legs and an arm had to leave out his head and the other arm, which, come to think of it, is what actually happened to a lot of white boys here in Murfreesboro at the Battle of Stones River, history has an terrible way of settling scores)but that was the general idea, messy as it was.
But theres not even the wisp of a hint of that notion in the letter. Not much of a civics lesson here about no taxation without representation and all that. The census is about loot. And getting my communities fair share of it. And its loot I need. The United States Federal Government tells me so.
Ive written before ( here and here ) about how I think its pretty clear Americans values are simply based upon money and not much else. Now I have the folks at the census telling me the same thing, in six languages. Thanks for the update. Im all a twitter.