At lunchtime, I went to Leonard Boswell's townhall on the 2010 Census. I took video, which I'll post later.
The big discussion during the town hall was why we're not asking whether people are citizens or not. "We don't care," is what US Census representative Dennis Johnson told us. "We're just supposed to count numbers."
Here's what the Constitution says:
"Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers,... The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct."That's his point - it says "Numbers."
Me, the troublemaker, I then asked, "So if the 'numbers' are used to determine how we citizens are represented in Congress, it's okay to include illegal aliens in that count?"
"It's a matter of interpretation. I defer to Congressman Boswell," he replied.
So I turned to Boswell. "You're okay with counting illegal aliens in the census to determine your representation of us?"
"You make a good point."
"What do you intend to do with that good point?"
"I'll take it back to Washington."
"And do what with it? What's your goal in taking that good point back to Washington?"
"I'll have to talk to others about this."
And that was it.
I was one of maybe 30 citizens there. About half were quietly motioning their applause of my questions or nodding their heads in agreement with that exchange and with a question I asked about using the census to direct "$4 trillion" back to the districts. "Who's gonna pay that back," I asked.
"Well, the president believes in 'Pay-As-You-Go.'"
"Really? Because he's ratcheting up debt faster than at any point in our history."
"Well, Bush spent over $700 billion."
"And Obama trillions. Both are wrong."
Unfortunately, my camera cut out early. Low battery. But I got the gist of their opening, but none of the back-and-forth.
I had some people come up to me afterward wanting to know who I was. I gave them my business card, but it's clear that people are looking for someone to be unafraid to speak out.
Two other facts that emerged: it's a $100 fine to only answer the question of how many are in your home. ACORN employees might be employed, but not as ACORN, per se.
They're not used to this, and it's something that we all need to do more of.