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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Two Cents (if anyone cares)....
**Edited to add: So, blogger must have something against me because this was supposed to post on Wednesday, not Tuesday! It wasn't even finished (or spell checked)--so I apologize to those who read part of a post. *sigh* Technology is a pain sometimes.

~Original Posting~

While I generally leave the political hub-bub to the Big Guy and my friend Chris, I'm going to share my 2 cents about the census. My issue?

People who gripe about filling it out.

It all started about a year ago when Rep. Michelle Bachman said that she was boycotting the Census and everyone else should, too. As she said, "...it's very intricate. Very personal. A lot of questions are asked." She also thinks that the Census information can be used against you, like it was after the 1940 census with Japanese Americans and the internment camps during WWII.

Yes. I think she's nuts.

Anyway, fast forward to a few weeks ago and I noticed that one of my high school friends was talking about the Census. Another high school person got onto their soap box and said, "They're only getting my name and how many people are in this house....that's IT!"

I began to wonder, "What is on the Census, anyway?" I filled one out in 2000 and hell if I can remember what was on it. I can't even remember what I have planned for dinner this week, much less what I wrote on a census form 10 years ago.

Last week, it was our turn. The Census arrived.

I opened it.
I filled it out for our household.
And sat there dumbfounded because all I was really asked was my name, my age, my relation to "person number 1" (we put the Big Guy first), if we rented or owned our home, and our ethnic background.

That's it. Not a question on where I worked, how much I made, my occupation. NOTHING.

So, what's the big deal? Why are people so up in arms over this? The funny thing? In doing my family tree recently and looking at census records dating back to the mid 1800's, the Census hasn't really changed.

Here. Look at this. It's a snapshot of the Census record from 1910 for my Great Grandma (my dad's Grandmother). It asks virtually the same things today. In 1910, they even went as far as to ask what you did for a living, where your parents were born and how long you've been married!

I know the pictures are kind of hard to read, so here's what the boxes say (from left to right):

Name, Relation (to head of household), Race, Gender, Age as of Last Birthday, Married (or widowed), Number of years you've been married, Number of children, Number of Children living, Your place of birth, Your father's place of birth....

(con't...) Your mother's place of birth, Year you came to the US, Citizen of the US?, Do you speak English (or the language spoken), What is your trade, What is your industry, Self employed?, How much do you work?, Are you able to read?, Are you able to write?, Do you own your home?, Are you a survivor of the Confederate Army?, Are you blind?, Are you deaf and dumb?

Yes! Those are the questions on the census from 1910. Can you image if that language was still used today?

We didn't recreate the wheel, people.
We improved it.
It's a Census.
Do your civic duty and fill it out.


Rebecca Jo said...

I've had problems with blogger not posting things on days I set it too.. dont know whats up with that..

Anyways - yeah, I dont get what's the big deal. It took me all of 2 minutes to fill out our census... easy peasy

Anonymous said...

The interment camps of WWII here on US soil for Japanese Americans was not our most shining hour as a country. I would like to think we have learned from our own history. What amazes me is that people that complain about the Census have no problem filling out information for anything they order online, how many times do you think that info is passed along? The Census helps to figure out new schools, new roads, new hospitals etc. The anti-government contingent is really getting out of hand. That's my two cents. love,mom

Hula Girl at Heart said...

There's a whole lot of OMG THEY WANT MY NAME AND THIS COUNTRY IS FALLING APART SOLIALISM IS RAINING DOWN ON US BLAH BLAH BLAH rhetoric going on these days, and it's driving me crazy. I just want to tell folks to simma down. Geez. It' just the freakin' census.

Oh, and the blogger issue must have been universal Monday evening. I had the same issues.

Amy said...

Michelle Bachman...she just leaves me shaking my head.

The Ardent Viper said...

Census...mutter. All I did was fill out the number that lived in the house and that was it. I don't care what was asked in the past or what is asked now. The only purpose of the Census is to determine the population of each state thus the number of House of Representatives each state will be awarded. So please fill out the number in the household then send it in. Don't waste your time on the rest of it.