Fill it out

Time for our once every 10 year nose-counting civic duty
There are two kinds of people in America right now, those who have filled out their Census forms and those who are going to be asked to do so.

If you’ve got your form and haven’t filled it out yet, you fall in the latter category. If you didn’t get a form you’re also in the latter category.

If you have your form, and you don’t want to get visited by a Census taker, the best way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to fill out the form and drop it in the mail.

Here’s the bottom line. Yes, we really do have to fill out those forms. It’s our duty and we’re upholding the U. S. Constitution when we do so.

The Census is mandated in the Constitution’s section that created the U. S. House of Representatives. Why? Because each state, no matter how large or small, gets two senators. But membership in the House is based on population.

How are we supposed to find out our country’s population? You guessed it.

Some people see the Census as an invasion of their privacy and wonder if we really need to know how many Polynesians live in Abilene. That was actually in a press release received by The Reporter after the 2000 count. (Answer: not many.)

And some people cross the paranoia line and start sounding like Dale Gribble of “King of the Hill” fame.

The most legitimate concerns are about privacy. How can we be sure information about us which is nobody’s business doesn’t get posted out there, somewhere, for all to see?

If you’ve checked out the Internet, lately, much of that information on you is probably is already out there. But it didn’t come from the Census Bureau.

It is against the law for the Census, or any of its workers, to disclose names, addresses, Social Security numbers or telephone numbers.

Bureau employees must swear an “oath of nondisclosure” for life. If anyone violates that oath they are liable for up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

This year’s form is the shortest since the 1700s and shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes of your time.

There are all kinds of good reasons for filling out the Census form but the best is the simplest.

It’s the right thing to do.—M.B.

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2010-03-25 digital edition

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