There has always been resistance to the Census from people who didn’t care for busybodies answering questions. The 1950 Census came right after I was born, but I have hazy remembrances of my redneck neighbors complaining about having to answer questions. It got worse when the Census started asking demographic questions — what’s the family income, what jobs do you do, how big is your house — instead of confining itself to determining how many eligible voters there were, for apportioning the House of Representatives.
Several of my acquaintances were hired as assistants for the 1960 Census, and one and all had stories of truculent resisters who threatened them with violence for “nosiness”. Even then, there were people who advocated minimal answers if any — “There are X eligible voters here, and Y minor children of ages […], and the rest of it’s none of your damned business” — and would grip a shotgun for additional punctuation.
Later Census questionnaires have gotten longer, more and more “nosy”, and less and less pertinent to the basic question of apportionment. Most people, even those who resent it, go along, largely because it just isn’t worth the hassle to resist; but, just as there are always a few people who scrawl “MYOB!” or something obscene across the top of their 1040s instead of filling them out, there always are, and have always been, a few stubborn individuals who refuse to answer the Census questions, some of them with at least threatened violence.
So it wouldn’t be a big surprise if the murder of Bill Sparkman turned out to be the work of a Census resister (nor would it be surprising if it turned out it wasn’t). RS McCain will be on the case. There’s nothing new about Census resistance, and it didn’t need Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Bachman (carefully described as a Republican Representative), or Glenn Beck to start it. In fact, in eastern Kentucky I’d be surprised if one out of fifty residents knew who any of those people were, let alone what they talked about.
You wouldn’t know it from Teh News, though. CBS News shrieks “Terror in Kentucky!”. Faiz Shakir at Think Progress, in hushed tones, finds “…a disturbing similarity to some of the worst hate crimes…”, and the commenters overwhelmingly agree. Josh at Right Wing Watch delivers an impassioned sermon about “Right-Wing Census Paranoia”. Scan ’round the Web, and you will find unanimity among the Leftoids and Democrats — this is new and really scary; Ms. Bachman needs to be censured or unseated for rabble-rousing, and Something Must Be Done to suppress all the wingnut pundits who are egging the violence on.
Sheesh. And these are the people who accuse me of “bedwetting” because I’d like to take sensible precautions to counter a known, if minor, threat? BUUUWAHAHA!
It must be admitted that the level’s been ratcheted up, but it can’t be blamed on “wingnut pundits”. Appointing ACORN to do Census work will go down in history as one of the stupidest, most asinine, and most tone-deaf political moves of all time. Clark Hoyt at The New York Times notices, but his lede (“Tuning In Too Late”) is more castigating his paper for taking too long to notice than it is addressing the question.
There has always been Census resistance (google those words for over five million references). Most people went along, if grudgingly, both from reluctance to tangle with armed Feds and from a feeling that the Census did, in fact, do something useful. Appointing ACORN as, as Hoyt divertingly puts it, “…one of thousands of unpaid organizations promoting the 2010 census…”, convinced a lot of already-suspicious people that the intent was to completely and finally discard the Constitutional purpose of the Census. It says, in letters of flaming fire to those otherwise predisposed to suspicion, that the promoters had no intention whatever of honestly determining the data needed for apportionment — that their “results” would be like Hugo Chavez’s “referendum”, already determined for their own intentions — and that Census workers were primarily casing the joint, looking for people who had enough to be worth taxing (or robbing more directly, cutting out the middleman).
Publicly <sneer> ending ACORN’S involvement </sneer> does nothing to allay such fears, because as Left and Right agree (the Left approvingly, the Right disparagingly) Fedgrabs are a ratchet — once the Government takes control of something, that control is permanent regardless of pious declarations or “walkbacks”, and serves as the basis for the next grab. ACORN is going to continue to be subsidized regardless of Potemkin Congressional actions, and ACORN is going to be running a substantial part of the Census; that’s a done deal, cast in stone, and all the speeches and House votes won’t “walk it back”. It remains to appoint Bertha Lewis as Secretary of Community Organizations, and find room on the Mall for the building needed by the new Department — hey, there’s plenty of room where the useless and insulting Viet Nam Memorial is!
So my advice to you is, don’t volunteer for Census work. It’s all a show, anyway. The “results” are being prepared by feverish effort in DC basements, and they will confirm that our elite political class are properly and rightfully privileged. Collecting data that will be discarded as soon as it reaches the center is futile and hazardous to your health, and lends credibility to the process. Stay away.
UPDATE: Moe Lane takes notice at RedState.
UPDATE THE SECOND: Dan Riehl has some speculation about a completely non-political possibility. I won’t put money on it either way.
BTW Dan, yes, there are a huge number of small unmarked cemeteries around there. It’s what happens when people can’t afford canvas and quicklime.