Confessions of a Census Taker

Once every 10 years from 1790 to today the United States government has tried to get an accurate figure of the number of people in all geographic areas in America. Last year I was chosen to be one of many to canvas neighborhoods in search of individuals who didn’t respond or haven’t yet sent back those calculated census forms that our illustrious postal service delivered so adequately to known addresses through-out the country.

In my never ending quest for missing persons my search has been met with some pretty startling revelations about the public in general. With today’s robust disdain toward those “Wizards” in Washington; we the hapless census workers are now unwilling victims of all the animosity toward our elected officials. The census worker is now perceived as an extension of that most dysfunctional of all branches of government, our congress. From the moment I took that oath of allegiance to the constitution what transpired next was neither exhilaration or ah but a feeling of foreboding temperance toward fulfilling my new obligation.

In the heat of sultry afternoons I now trudge diligently toward my appointed places. Door to door I keep my vigil, greeting my fellow citizens whether Americans or not. Whether I encounter rebut or are welcomed with open arms I none the less keep pursuing my quota of questionnaires. It was in such instance that I encountered an apprehension of sort from one individual when came knocking on his door. He then seem so surprised when he saw my official government badge. I guess the mere presence of a government official regardless of their intention is again perceived with a certain anxiety and fear. Though he was very calculated in his answers it was quite apparent that the address was no longer what was indicated on our government form. Good thing for him I wasn’t from the zoning board or the county appraiser who undoubtedly would begin a more intrusive questionnaire. From outright relief to a complete slam your door type of refusal have all been displayed during my travels in a seemly endless search for those forgotten few.

I am quite saddened today by the actual number of people who really don’t know their neighbors, care who lives next door, and actually who is quite chagrinned when I or any census worker approaches to inquire about their neighbor. I recall a time when people really came to know and enjoyed the company of their neighbors. The comradery that came with shared human compassion for one another. A time of benevolence, a nurturing of a common bond between each other. A fellowship of friends bound by that irrevocable link of emotion of friendship shared by all.

What has ensued in the passing of generations is a deterioration of our societies exuberance of shared proximity to one another. When people are no longer concerned for their fellow neighbor but rather withdraw to within ones own domain without the slightest regard for others next door an apathetic selfish and a more callous attitude toward everyone has resulted. When you think back and compare those yesterdays to today it is now know wonder that America has succumbed to all sorts of manifestations further alienating the United States citizens from one another. This is a very sad commentary coming from one who relishes the human connection between neighbors and neighborhoods.

It is this census worker who now continues to complete his appointed rounds still is very mindful of the importance of his work. For without a pretty accurate account of who is actually residing in the United States many of the sponsored programs and funds that support them will be delayed or worse yet not allocated where they are supposed to do the most good. In essence the United States Census is actually beneficial for every American.

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