Is it beginning to feel a little stuffy in here? A little too crowded? Claustrophobic maybe?

The nation’s population officially hit 300 million at 8:46 a.m. Claremore time, Tuesday, when the Census Bureau’s population clock rolled over to the big number three-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh my gosh.

Seeing as how new people are arriving in this country every hour, by birth, by boat or by bolting the border, I don’t understand how the census folks can be so accurate in picking the very moment that the 300 millionth one got here.

But did you notice there weren’t any wild celebrations, fireworks or any other government-sponsored hoopla to mark the milestone? And why not? When the population officially hit 200 million in 1967, President Johnson held a news conference to hail America’s past accomplishments and to talk about the challenges ahead. Life magazine sent out a cadre of photographers to find a baby born at the exact moment, anointing a Chinese boy born in Atlanta as the 200 millionth American.

But for number 300,000,000 — a two-minute segment on the Today Show and 250-word story on the AP wire. That was about it.

See, #300,000,000 had the misfortune of arriving just a couple of weeks before an election in which illegal immigration is a high profile issue. It just wouldn’t be politically prudent right now to make a big deal over this milestone event, because the milestone just might turn out to be a 40-year-old Mexican looking for a job.

Seems an awful lot of Americans think the country is already full. That we have no room for any more. So, shut the door. Close the windows and turn out the lights. We’re already busting at the seems.

Well, I don’t agree with that. We have lots of available space. There’s not hardly anyone living in Wyoming, parts of Utah and Nevada, and most of west Texas is practically empty. Not too long ago I drove out to the panhandle, and let me tell you something, we’ve got lotsa’ room that ain’t being used right here in Oklahoma.

But if the country continues to grow at its present rate in another 50 years all this available space might be all used up, and when west Texas is full, we’ll be packed in here like sardines. Still, though, we ought to be able to survive. Look at China. They have 300,000,000 million — plus another billion on top of that — and is still growing. Just ask Wal-Mart.

India has more than a billion people, too. The U. S. is in third place, which also seems odd to me. We’re the youngest major country in the world and already we’re the third largest in population. Russia is much larger in area, is more than twice our age, and has much colder winters, but we have twice as may people. Go figure.

Actually I blame all this growth on the Bible. “Go forth and multiply,” or something like that, the book commands. We may have gone overboard with the multiplication, and if we don’t cut it out we may find ourselves standing in line to starve.

Do you reckon maybe that the big increase in the gay community is part of God’s plan to control population growth? Nah, before He would do anything like that He’d just order up another flood.

Until He does it’s probably a good idea to learn how to get along with one another and make the best of our growing problem — if indeed, it is a problem. We’re not going to be able to keep couples from having kids, especially on the recommendation of a 76-year-old man, and a fence along the border will keep out all the Mexicans except the ones we don’t want.

According to the Census people the number of foreign-born in the U. S. now is at an all-time high, but the percentage of foreign-born in the country today is lower than it was 100 years ago.

Apparently we’ve been able to make it work pretty darn well for the last hundred years, so what’s the problem?

This Week's Circulars