Mike the Mad Biologist

It’s still unclear if the murdered census worker with “fed” written on his chest was killed because he was a census worker, but the bashing of the Constitutionally-mandated census by Michelle Bachmann and other conservatives is having an effect–and not a good one (italics mine):

I work in the field for the Census Bureau in western North Carolina, deep in the mountains. There are certainly meth labs and grow ops in the areas where I’ve worked, but the greatest fear for my team and myself comes from the angry and the ignorant.

The overwhelming anger is directed straight at the President. No question. Fear and racism at the core that has manifested into anti-government radicalism. We’re threatened and intimidated almost daily, just for trying to earn a days pay and uphold the Constitution. I’ve been called an “employee of president nigger” and team members have been bitten by dogs and threatened with shotguns.

The Glenn Becks and Michelle Bachmans give these nutjobs legitimacy and a voice. They’re bringing this madness into the mainstream fold of our society and stoking the flames of misguided fears.

I realize that movement conservative leaders don’t believe that words actually have meaning, but someone is going to get killed over this, if it hasn’t happened already.

Comments

  1. #1 bob
    September 25, 2009

    I wholeheartedly agree that hatred of the census workers is a bad thing. But blaming this murder (or others) on the talking heads is, in my mind, misguided.

    Just as I don’t want to give the police the right to search my house without a warrant in order to fight the War on Drugs. I also do not want to volunteer to the government personal information such as: how long my daily commute is, if I have a flush toilet, how many TVs I own, what is my education level, how often the women in my house have been pregnant, etc….

    I am aware that this information is used for a good purpose such as community planning. The proposed searches to be used in the war on drugs were also for a good purpose. And although I have absolutely nothing to hide, I think that the right to privacy overrides the right of the government to obtain such personal information.

    I am a definitely not a rightwing person, I am quite the lefty on most issues. Even though I agree that the rhetoric of the right is sometimes extreme, I have to agree with Michelle Bachman that the American Community Survey (ACS) is too intrusive. The Constitution calls for counting the people and other than the number and ages of people living at a residence, any other information should be optional.

    That is my two cents, for whatever it is worth.

  2. #2 Scott
    September 25, 2009

    Uh, Bob, you don’t have to “volunteer” such personal information to the government. What part of “voluntary” don’t you understand? You can decline. You can lie. You can politely show the man where the door is. Not everyone is even asked the supplementary questions, only a statistical sampling. What you can’t do is shoot or hang the census taker.

  3. #3 Rob Jase
    September 25, 2009

    “What you can’t do is shoot or hang the census taker.”

    There you go, taking away his gun rights you librul!

  4. #4 Rob Jase
    September 25, 2009

    “What you can’t do is shoot or hang the census taker.”

    Well if a person can’t just shoot anyone they feel like thenyou’re taking their gun rights away.

    Wait, there will be righties that use that argument.

  5. #5 Art
    September 25, 2009

    The census is constitutionally mandated. So the question is: ‘Why does the wingnut right hate the US constitution?’

  6. #6 bob
    September 25, 2009

    I think that some of you are missing my point(s).

    First, I am opposed to shooting/insulting/ or otherwise harassing census workers. I am not saying that the violence is acceptable. I just think that blaming Michelle Bachman for the violence is misguided.

    Second, what Michelle Bachman is opposed to is the intrusive nature of of many the questions listed on the AMC form (some that I noted above earlier). And the laws are very clear that failing to answer, or intentionally lying, is punishable by large fines.

    The intent of the Constitution is for a census that provides a count of the people in order to determine the number of legislators. Being from a mixed race family, I am opposed to any questions about race.

  7. #7 Joshua
    September 25, 2009

    If you don’t like it, move to somewhere the census isn’t written into the friggin’ Constitution.

    Or, you know, decline to answer, which you’re allowed to do.

    Honestly, you might as well raise a ruckus about having to do jury duty. The GOVERNMENT is COMPELLING YOU BY FORCE to TAKE TIME OFF FROM WORK and LISTEN TO BORING TRIALS.

    TYRANNY!!!

  8. #8 AgnosticOracle
    September 25, 2009

    While I worry about the safety of our government employees I wonder if this might have an unintended side effect that bites the Republicans in the ass. If conservatives are resisting the census then fewer conservatives get counted. This could mean fewer congress critters for conservative states.

  9. #9 Donna B.
    September 26, 2009

    Ya know, I have no idea and no interest in what Michelle Bachman said. What I do have is memories of census takers in the past.

    Apparently one year (1980), my family was targeted for a more extensive than ordinary census and after we mailed off our census questionnaires, we were supposedly visited by a real live census taker.

    Except she didn’t like large dogs. I watched as our Dalmatian leaned against the window of her vehicle. He was not actually threatening her, but I could understand her reluctance to open the door.

    I could have opened the front door and called the dog inside, but I didn’t. Why, I’m not actually sure. The dog was not trying to protect me, but he would have surely tried to kill anyone he thought a threat to my children… actually his children. He would have killed me too if he thought I might hurt his children. The children were at school at this particular time… so he might have had some protective instincts toward me too.

    Anyway, I chose to just watch from the window until the census taker drove away.

    For those interested, there are some interesting notes from census takers during the mid to late 1800s. History in all its aspects is quite interesting.

  10. #10 Troublesome Frog
    September 26, 2009

    I wholeheartedly agree that hatred of the census workers is a bad thing. But blaming this murder (or others) on the talking heads is, in my mind, misguided.

    I’m not so sure about that. You can reasonably argue that asking people to answer some questions about the ACS. That’s perfectly legitimate.

    What has been happening lately, though, is the spinning of weird conspiracy theories and stirring up the craziest of the crazy. I would have thought that we learned our lesson about using mobs of crazy people as a political base. Sure, they vote your way reliably, but they also get a little hard to predict and control once you get them wound up.

    Convincing an unstable person that a census taker is actually an undercover ACORN agent who will cut his balls off and convert his kids to communism will probably get you his political support in the next round of elections. The question is, is it worth the blowback?

  11. #11 Captain Obvious
    September 28, 2009

    Art: Because the US Constitution you have now is a SOCIALIST FAKE. The commies – with librul help – replaced the real one with a fake in 1963.

    You don’t really think the real Constitution would start like this do you?!???!??!!

    “WE, the PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    “We”? “The People”? “Union”? “Common”? “General welfare”? That is a load of commie propaganda!

  12. #12 Ray Ingles
    September 28, 2009

    Scott, according to the Census Bureau, you really do have to respond: “Respondents are required to answer all questions on the American Community Survey (ACS) to the best of their ability. Response to this and other Census surveys is required by law.”

    Now, in practice, no, you don’t have to. We got the ACS earlier this year and I only provided the kind of information that I’ve been comfortable putting out on the web. Aside from a couple of phone calls, I suffered no ill effects. I strongly suspect the Census Bureau isn’t eager for a test case to determine if the ACS is really covered under the Constitution.

    Of course, as you note, you don’t have to be rude about it. I was polite with the ACS people who called, but quite firm in my refusal to provide more detailed information. Violence is utterly beyond the pale – but unstable individuals hearing the inciting rhetoric today might not comprehend that.

  13. #13 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    September 28, 2009

    As a question I may pose to those who think that the additional questions on the long form are obtrusive, do you suspect that the Census Bureau is actually tracking your data with interest in you specifically? Or are you aware that the data is collected as an overall statistic sampling and they don’t track you personally once they have collected it?

    It’s not a 4th amendment violation, as in the case of a drug sweep.