Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I Believe The Word They're Looking For Is 'American'

Have you received your 2010 Census notification letter yet?  I have, and it irritated the crap out of me.  The thing that most rubbed me the wrong way is that, in the space of a few short sentences, the letter mentioned it was important that I fill out my census form so that I get "my fair share" of government money.  Twice.  Can we say dependence, or what?  Gag me with a wooden spoon.

Two other things annoyed me, too.  The first is that advertisement phrase at the bottom of the form being printed in several different languages.  Now, I realize that we're a melting pot and all that, but shouldn't everyone in this country be well-versed in English?  That's kind of the primary language here, you know.  There's no reason to use multiple languages on this thing other than pure political pandering.  Second is the entire premise of the letter itself - do we really need a letter telling us that we're about to receive a letter on the 2010 census? 

Apparently, I'm not alone in that one:

The Census has sent me a letter telling me that they're going to send me a letter.  Brilliant!

I'm having a difficult time deciding if this letter is:

  1. Supposed to be helpful or informative in some way.
  2. A joke.
  3. Some sort of Obama stimulus plan for the postal workers
  4. My imagination.

I'm betting on option 3.

Probably from the TARP or 'stimulus' slush funds, I'm guessing.

Mark Krikorian offers an outstanding suggestion:

I haven't gotten my letter from the Census Bureau yet asking me to make sure I fill out the questionnaire. But when I do fill it out, I'll use it to send a message.

Fully one-quarter of the space on this year's form is taken up with questions of race and ethnicity, which are clearly illegitimate and none of the government's business (despite the New York Times' assurances to the contrary on today's editorial page). So until we succeed in building the needed wall of separation between race and state, I have a proposal. Question 9 on the census form asks "What is Person 1's race?" (and so on, for other members of the household). My initial impulse was simply to misidentify my race so as to throw a monkey wrench into the statistics; I had fun doing this on the personal-information form my college required every semester, where I was a Puerto Rican Muslim one semester, and a Samoan Buddhist the next. But lying in this constitutionally mandated process is wrong. Really — don't do it.

Instead, we should answer Question 9 by checking the last option — "Some other race" — and writing in "American." It's a truthful answer but at the same time is a way for ordinary citizens to express their rejection of unconstitutional racial classification schemes. In fact, "American" was the plurality ancestry selection for respondents to the 2000 census in four states and several hundred counties.

Sounds good to me!  In fact, "American" was the fastest growing ancestry group in the previous decade.

Michelle Malkin reminds us of Teddy Roosevelt's excellent thoughts on the subject:

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all… The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic… There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else.

Let's make the numbers jump off the page this time around.  Pass the message along to everyone you know.

The word we're looking for is "American".  That's it.  Period.

There's my two cents.

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