So there I am just minding my own business... and then... and then... Well I have long said for many years now, that Chief Joseph and I - "will fight no more forever." I have really been such a good compliant citizen for so any years now. Just as Billy Joel opined in his song; "I once believed in causes too. I had my pointless point of view. I found that just surviving... was a noble fight, da da deh..." So Chief Joseph, Billy, and I were henceforth determined to just "Let it be." And did our dear Federal government hold similar sentiments? Well as it turns out - Not so much.<!--more-->
So... as I say, I am just going through my mail when I see it; "YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW." Now that's scary lookin, thinks I. So as it turns out, it is the census. So I, the diligent civic minded citizen open the envelope to see what "Response" is "Required." Well I remember from my senior year civics class somethin about them countin us to determine how many representatives to "apportion" for our congressional district. I also have watched the recent barrage of commercials jingling on about the government not being able to go on till they received our census response. [Well we could only hope!] So, anyway, thinks I, counting how many people are in the area sure seems reasonable. So I go to answer how many people are at the residence and I then notice something very odd... Well it seems that in addition to how many people are in the residence they want to know what the racial make-up is of the house, along with my marital relationship and that of everyone in the house, where I work, and a whole lot of private information about myself, and anyone who lived here but has recently left. So now I am starting to get bugged.
So now I am thinking that they are really asking a whole lot of information that they just have no right to. "But do they?" I wonder. So I fire up my "Google - Everything you ever wanted to know about anything machine" and soon am in possession of the pertinent statutes. They are 13USC Sections 221, and 223 respectively. I will post them under the documents tab with the pertinent section of the constitution but for simplicity I will truncate or paraphrase them here.
Well as it turns out 13 USC Section 221 does specifically require everyone to answer any and all questions put to them without limitation. It specifies a $100 fine for non-compliance or neglect, and a $500 fine for lying. Section 223 further specifies a $500 fine for refusing to grant access to any agent, etc. of the census bureau to your house for the purpose of gathering whatever information the deem important. So now I am getting reeaaalllly bugged.
So I, knowing a teensy bit about the constitution, know that they can only require information specifically authorized therein. The downside to this of course is if the constitution just vaguely specifies "Information" or some other ridiculous non-specific drivel. But as I recall the authors of the document were rather careful and specific about their wording. So I crank up the old Google again and soon am staring at our precious constitution, and more specifically Article 1, Section 2. This is the section that talks about "enumerating" the people for the purposes of determining numbers of representatives and "apportioning" taxes. So right there in the text it clearly and unambiguously defines the limits of the granted authority and the exact associated requirements of all citizens pertaining to it. So what does it say exactly?
Well it says they can tally up all "free persons," and all "Indians not taxed," and "Three fifth of all other persons." Now as for the tree fifths persons, you'll probably remember from high school civics that this was referring to blacks, who would conveniently only be counted as three fifths of a person. This has of course been changed, and they are now counted amongst the free persons as whole people. And of course the Fourteenth Amendment has made the "Free" persons" designation obsolete as well. So that leaves two things specifically authorized to ask the citizens in regard to "enumerating" them. They are authorized to ask how many persons reside at each residence, and how many are "Indians not taxed." Now after very careful examination I cannot find anything in the original article or any subsequent amendments authorizing them to gather any further information for any purpose whatsoever. Now it could be there, but it isn't in any copy of the constitution I have ever seen.
So this all got me wondering what would happen if I just answered these two questions and nothing more. Sooo... back I go to Google. Well it seems that there are a lot of people disenchanted with the arbitrary ignoring of the constitution and Draconian pronouncements of the heavy boot of governmental displeasure on the necks of any citizens with the impudence to insist on them remaining within their constitutional restraints. So included in this bunch of 'Wackos" refusing to answer arbitrary, private, and unauthorized inquiries is none other than Congresswoman Michelle Bachman. Ms. Bachman has stated unequivocally that she is only answering as to the number of persons residing at her premises, and answering not a word more. So in deference to Keith Olberman I am hereby proclaiming Ms. Bachman this weeks winner of my Bestest person award. Ms. Bachman's spine [and soul] are clearly intact.
So wandering further throughout the web I happen upon the musings of disgruntled, and gruntled former census SS operatives. My favorite amongst these is the one who explains various techniques of garnering information from the neighbors of the non-compliant. Additionally he/she suggests to the new crop of Gestapo goons that as a last resort they could bring the local police to the door to intimidate the impudent residents into compliance. "This always," he/she insists,"does the trick." So now I' getting reeeaallly, reeaally bugged.
So, a short time later I am, statutes and pertinent constitutional section in hand, standing in front of the local police commander. So I am asking him if the portrayed scenario is likely, and if they would be raising the stakes from a civil infraction to some kind of obstruction/refusal to cooperate situation. I am especially concerned with Section 223 that specifies that we must grant access to our house to these thugs or face a fine. Well he assures me that they will never allow any governmental operative to enter our home and would never do so themselves absent some probable cause to believe a crime was taking place or some imminent harm to someone therein. In regard to them bringing along a constable for the intimidation factor the police Commander stated most emphatically that any such request would be met with the unequivocal suggestion that they "Pack Sand."
So, I like the good citizen that I am go home and answer the "Required" parts of the "Census Confession." For question #1 I state that there are two persons residing at the residence. I then scrawl across the rest of the document in bold red Sharpe: "See Attached." I then attach a letter properly addressed to the Census Bureau stating briefly: "I believe you are confused as to the limits of your constitutional authority. I have included them for your review." I then go on to include all of Article 1, section 2 of the constitution. I conclude with: "In compliance with my civic duty and with consideration to your constitutional authority and limitations I will tell you that there are two persons residing at [this address], and they are not "Indians not taxed." And I sign it Sincerely the resident of....
epilogue: Well it is my understanding that in a few months the governmental worker bees will be descending on the neighborhoods, clipboards in hands, to round up the missing information from the "neglectful" and the "disobedient." I have printed up additional copies of the letter to provide them when they come calling. I am eager to ask them to show me from where in the constitution they derive their authority to demand any additional information. I am fascinated to ponder what their response will be.