Friday, December 2, 2011

The People have Spoken: Results of Our DHS Poll

% of total votes for each choice in "Rename DHS Poll," Nov., 2011 (N=3,253)
From Nov. 2nd to Nov 8th, 2011 we orchestrated the largest ever nationwide poll on the future of the Department of Homeland Security.

Our poll concerned the most pressing question of all: Should DHS be renamed? We provided a list of alternative names and invited the American People to vote for their favorites.  By the end of the polling period, a total of 3,253 people had voted; as respondents were allowed to choose more than one response, a total of 4,064 votes were cast.

As per the above chart, these were the top responses, listed in order of votes received:
  1. Privatize and name it after the buyer (i.e. "Haliburton Security" or "Saudi Binladin Group Security"): 1113 votes, 27% 
  2. Scaredycatland Security (staff pick): 1008 votes, 25%
  3. Fatherland Security (says we're strong):  668 votes, 16%
  4. Bankland Security (its all theirs anyway): 533 votes, 14%
  5. Droneland Security (rhymes with "homeland"): 329 votes, 10%
Other names received fewer than 10% of votes cast. 

We are most grateful to journalist James Fallows for having publicized our national survey on his excellent blog at the Atlantic Monthly.

Citizen contributed names
A number of citizens who declined to participate in the poll chose to submit their own names for DHS.  They submitted these names over Twitter, in the comments sections of blogs, and on major bulletin board sites across the country.  A Taiwanese website also participated.   By the end of the polling period, 568 people had suggested hundreds of alternative names for Homeland Security.

Many "citizen contributed" names were quite dubious.  Whenever individuals submitted their own names (as opposed to selecting the items on the poll) we made every effort to track down IP addresses or subpoena Twitter account information. 

Plethora of acronyms
Until our next federal grant comes through, we will not have the resources to analyze all the names, let alone arrest everyone who participated.

However, based on preliminary analysis by a team led by Undersecretary Wolf, the following acronyms are likely to be rejected: 
  • KGB: Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti
  • RETARDED: REdundant Treasonous Americans Raping Democracy Every Day
  • DEAD: Department to Eradicate American Democracy
  • ADHD: American Department of Homeland Defense
  • DICKS: Department of Inequality, Capitalism, Korruption and Servitude
  • DUM: Department of Unpatriotic Mentality
  • DOFUS: Department of Fear, United States
  • DOHAC: Department of Hope and Change
  • DEATHSTAR: DEfending America THrough Security Theatrics And Ridiculousness
  • WASTE: Wacky Administration Sacrificing the Taxes of Everyone
  • SACUP: Dept. of Shove All Complaints Up Pooper
  • BENDOVER: Bureau of Ending National Debate Over Violation of Everyone's Rights
  • DIE: Dept. of Do It or Else
  • GROPE: Government Response to Obvious Political Expediency
  • C****: Committee for Unethical National Threat Scaremongering
  • DOOM: Department Of Orwellian Misrule
  • MILF: Ministry of Instantaneous and Last Freedom
  • DAMNIT: Department of Absolutely Meaningless National Insecurity Theater
  • USELESS: United States Emergency Law Enforcement Secret Service
  • DUH: Department of Upperclass Hooligans
  • A*******: American Security Services, Homeland Operations, Law Enforcement for the State
  • RSMA: Reich Security Main Office
  • SAFETY: Securing American's Fear of Everything Threatening You
  • DHS: Department of Honor and Selflessness (inspired by this)
  • DIPS***: Department of International Perception State Homeland Investigation Taskforce

Other dubious names
Following are some of the more curious name suggestions we received:
  • Mystery Security Theater 3000
  • Department of Perpetual Orange
  • The Unicorn Society (I mean they are looking for non-existent things after all)
  • Mother of all Fatherland Departments
  • The Kindly Ones (A Greek euphemism for the Furies)
  • 米国淫民的爱国爱党情操不高尚嘛  (The United States of Kinky Party Patriotic Sentiments of the People is Not a Noble Thing)
One entrepreneur suggested the DHS be named after his company's "security" product (SecurityFeelBetter).  That's capitalism at its best.   

Where to go from here? 
 Hubble Space Telescope photo of remote galaxies (NASA).
Only 4% of respondents in our national poll said they favor retaining the name Homeland Security.  This means the name is probably going to have to change. What is our next step?  OutputLogic describes our plan of action quite accurately:
First, they have to form a Committee for Renaming the Department of Homeland Security.  Second, the committee has to work for two years and draft a 1000-page conclusions document.  Third, there has to be a nation-wide referendum. Fourth…
Because the debt is scary enough already, we will outsource as much of this work as possible to companies in Asia.  Encouragingly, we received some interesting responses from Taiwan.  Staff particularly appreciated the forward thinking behind a name suggested by one of the Taiwanese.  SandersYao wrote:
If the boundaries of U.S. imperialism were to be extended to encompass the scope of the universe, it should be called the Space Security Agency.  

Our global media partners
James Fallows publicized our poll.
The U.S. Dept. of Fear couldn't possibly achieve its objectives without the complicity of the media.  Here's a partial list of various media organizations that helped to promote the survey (along with the number of DHS names suggested):

Survey questionnaire
Voters could select multiple items.  The online polling gadget (bellow) calculates the percent for each item as percent of the number of persons voting (N=3,253), whereas our chart (top of the post) indicates the percent of total votes (4,064) each item received.  

Should we rename Homeland Security? What would be a better name for it?

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Dr. Rebecca Wolf
Undersecretary for Community and New Media
United States Department of Fear