Calhoun’s Can(n)ons, The Bay News, Tolosa Press, SLO, CA for July 31, 08
It’s official, now. We live in Fungible Fact Nation. Story in the July 13th, L.A. Times: “U.S. Census Bureau won’t count same-sex marriages. The federal agency plans to edit the responses of legally married gay and lesbian couples.”
Well, why not? Ronald Reagan once observed that “facts are stubborn things.” But then he also declared ketchup was a vegetable in order to make school lunches for poor children appear whole and balanced. And our own Dear Leader declares “Heck of a job, Brownie!” to a demonstrably incompetent hack, then gives fulsome praise and Medals of Freedom to incapable bunglers. The EPA deletes important data, then makes up a story as to why the data is deleted. Everyone snickers. Who needs facts? They’re annoying and get in the way of politically pleasant ideologies.
Notes the Times: “The U.S. Census Bureau, reacting to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and other mandates, plans to edit the 2010 census responses of same-sex couples who marry legally in California, Massachusetts or any other state. They will be reported as ‘unmarried partners,’ rather than married spouses, in census tabulations – a policy that will likely draw the ire of gay-rights groups.
“The Census Bureau followed the same procedure for the 2000 census, [before marriage was legal in California or Massachusetts] and it does not plan to change in 2010.
“Critics say the census plan will mask the records of legally married same-sex couples and therefore degrade the quality of the government’s demographic data.
“’I just think it’s bad form for the census to change a legal response to an incorrect response,’ said Gary Gates of the Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA law school that studies gay-related public policy issues. ‘That goes against everything the census stands for.’”
Gosh, ya think?
I can see the census takers now. They’ll have to cross their fingers when they take their oaths to faithfully and honestly record the information they are charged with gathering. And keep a goodly supply of Pink Pearl erasers on hand. But think of the creative opportunities. Does this administration think there’s too many Mexicans self-reporting that they’re, well, Mexican? That maybe the numbers could raise too many questions about illegal immigration and just who’s hiring all those south-of-the-border folks to run their giant corporations so their CEO’s can hob-knob with the Washington elite, including the President? No problem! Just tell the census taker to change the racial designation. Sorry, the Mexican box is full. We’ll make you Samoan.
And if we’ve got too many people showing up in low-paying, dead-end jobs, then we can just set a “poor people’s” quota and start bumping people up to the next income bracket. Heck, why stop there? The census takers can randomly start checking off the boxes marked, “Lawyer,” or “Brain Surgeon.” We can’t have too many of those. Increase their number in the census and the overall picture of the American economy starts to take on a rosy glow.
And since federal money often follows the numbers, lobbyists can begin to haunt the U.S. Census Bureau with their nice bribe --excuse me -- “contributions,” so as to make their case for mis-reporting in certain areas in order to use that incorrect data to start up the federal largess. For example, the data could show that in San Luis Obispo County, the Medicare payments are completely out of date and simply don’t reflect real costs, thereby causing Doctors to stop taking Medicare patients, who then have to go die in the streets. A few box checks here and there, and Voila! Problem solved.
Or consider the fate of Los Osos. All our enumerators need do is to record the “fact” that there isn’t a single piece of indoor plumbing in the whole town, that we’re a worm-ridden, rat-infested, sewage-flooded community of impoverished, uneducated dolts who spend all day on our sagging porches playing our banjos, and federal infrastructure monies will surely rain down on our Beloved Bangladesh by the Bay. Which would be a good thing.
So who needs facts? The loopy president of Iran came to New York to announce adamantly that there were no gay people in his country. Hey, same here. There are no married gay couples in the whole of California. Or Massachusetts. And we have the census numbers to prove it!