Government Overreach is in the Eye of the Beholder
December 13, 2017
Several days back, I wrote about the Agricultural Census mailing Mr. Karen and I got here at our definitely not agricultural condo. For me it was a goof, a form that I shouldn’t have gotten. The letter acknowledged that it might not apply and that filling out the first few questions on the form would let the USDA update their records. So I filled it out (after verifying that the census was a real thing and that the website I was directed to was a legitimate .gov), used it as fodder for a journal entry, and put it out of my mind.
It stayed out until posts came up in two of the local Facebook groups I’m in. A lot of people got that form that shouldn’t have gotten it. Their response was different than mine. Instead of filling out the form or doing some poking around to figure out what it was, they posted things like this:
“I’ve never heard of an agricultural survey. I don’t trust it.”
“I file mine in the trash.”
“Government intrusion IMO”
“This is woefully unconstitutional and one could probably easily win in court on these grounds. SMH”
“I wonder if it has anything to do with the plant they want to build in Newport.” (a smelter plant is proposed in Washington near the Idaho border; nothing to do with the USDA or the Ag Census which has been going on for decades, but sure, let’s start to float a conspiracy theory)
“It looks SO real and legit but ???? color me skeptical to say the least.. thoughts? ”
“I got one too but it looked fake. I didn’t do it ”
“I am opting out, but IF legit the qualities of clarity and respect for citizens faced with realities of digital hijacking are clearly lacking in the clueless agency that created this mailing. ”
The interesting thing is there were threads about this, and the comments above came from, two groups that don’t generally have much overlap in opinion. One is an Indivisible group dominated by progressives and liberals, the other is a town news group that’s mostly conservatives and alt-right folks. I expected better of the former. I posted links in both groups to what I’d found about the website, the Ag Census, and the penalties for non-filers ($100) and people who lie on the form ($500). I doubt it will help, but I’m not yet willing to give up on a fact-based approach. One person did thank me for the links, so I’m not alone. Outnumbered, yes, but not alone.
On this date in 2016: Pizzas I Have Known and Loved
2015: End of the Road
2014: Social Butterfly I Am Not and Irrevocable
2013: No entry
2011: Emerging from Dormancy
2010: Without Mountains, What’s the Point?
2009: An Apology to My Government
2008: S.O.G. with P.I.P.
2007: WDW Episode IV: A New Hope
2006: What a Difference a Day Makes
2005: 10 Things
2004: Will My Skis Fit in the Overhead Bin?
2003: No entry
2002: Weight Wait