Editor’s note: Today’s editorial originally appeared in The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin and The Seattle Times. Editorial content from other publications and authors is provided to give readers a sampling of regional and national opinion and does not necessarily reflect positions endorsed by the Editorial Board of The Daily News.
Participation be each person in the 2020 Census is important for you, your community and the nation.
It’s very likely this isn’t the first time you have been told this and it’s certain it will not be the last. In fact, by the time 2020 rolls around — the year in which American undertakes its once-a-decade Census — the harping to participate will be a constant, pounding drumbeat. Frankly, it’s that important.
The U.S. Census has been conducted every decade since 1790 as required by the Constitution.
The Census is a tedious process in which the nation is flooded with Census takers who literally try to count every head.
The Census starts with the mailing of 100 million or so Census forms. In addition, Census takers personally deliver forms to dwellings that lack street-name and house-number addresses, often in rural and remote areas.
The goal of the Census is to count every person living in this country. It’s important to have this information as it is used for a variety of purposes such as determining representation in Congress. The number of seats in the U.S. House is fixed at 435. The state of Washington has 10 of those seats — picking up one in the 2010 Census.
In addition, the federal government allocates hundreds of billions of dollars every year to the states, counties and cities (essentially sending our tax dollars back to us) for roads, health care and other needs. The dollar amount received depends on population. The more people the more money a state, city or county receives.
Counting all the people living in this country isn’t easy.
It’s made harder when some of those people who should be counted, per our Constitution, are made afraid to partcipate. The effort by the Trump administration to include a question on citizenship (the first time since 1950) further complicates the counting and adding stokes some folks’ fears.
The question seems unnecessary as it is irrelevant to the goal of counting bodies living in the U.S. It is possible that the question will be nixed before the Census taking begins.
The chairman of Washington state’s effort to get a complete count in the Census, former Gov. Gary Locke, is advising people to simply not answer any question about citizenship. He said he plans to boycott that question.
Locke, a former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, said people will still be counted if they skip the citizenship question and the Commerce Department, which administers the Census, won’t send people door-to-door if a single question is not answered.
Gov. Jay Inslee said his administration is not encouraging people to boycott any of the questions.
Ultimately, how each person answers — or doesn’t answer — the questions will be a personal choice.
The bottom line is that each person should make it a priority to be counted.
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It’s the right thing to do to ensure your state and community has appropriate representation in Congress and proper reallocation of your tax dollars.
Keep pressing China on human rights
President Donald Trump tweeted that he’ll have an “extended meeting” with China President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Japan this week.
Resolving the nations’ trade dispute, and getting China to abide by international trade rules, is the top priority. Also on the agenda is North Korea, which Xi visited en route to Japan.
But a long meeting should also provide time for the president to remind Xi that America is troubled by human-rights violations in China.
Trump missed an opportunity earlier this month to support demonstrators in Hong Kong.
They were protesting legislation that would enable China to extradite criminal suspects from the autonomous island, potentially including political dissidents. The bill was paused after massive protests, a striking uprising against China extending its authoritarianism.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with a Hong Kong pro-democracy leader and expressed concern that Hong Kong’s rights were threatened by the legislation. Vice President Mike Pence also sharply criticized China in October.
But Trump was markedly circumspect. In a June 17 interview with Time magazine, Trump said the protests were effective but declined to speak for their cause.
“I have our own argument with China, and I think it’s going to work out successfully, but I’m going to let China and the protesters work out their own problem,” Trump said.
The president of the United States has multiple arguments with China, and mercantilism is just one of them.
Human rights are another. They have worsened substantially since Xi became president in 2013, said University of Washington Professor David Bachman, a former chair of its China studies program.
Last year the world became aware of internment camps where China is “re-educating” perhaps 1 million Muslims. Tolerance has also diminished for Christians and some Buddhist communities, and human-rights lawyers are being severely persecuted, Bachman noted. Still, trade will dominate this week’s meeting. Trump is under pressure to resolve a dispute that cost American consumers and businesses an estimated $4.4 billion per month last year. While that economic hardship cannot continue forever, the U.S. must get China to improve its trade behavior or the pain will have been for naught.
Trump and Xi may not reach a deal. One clue will be whether the discussion does turn to human rights — Bachman said that may be a sign that trade talks have broken down.
That outcome would not be a complete failure.
One way or another, the U.S. president should take every opportunity to advocate for human rights and support those pushing back against tyranny — even if it adds another wrinkle to complicated trade negotiations.