WHAT IF THEY GAVE A WAR & NOBODY PAID?
Green Valley Lake, Calif.
One of the most patriotically American things any citizen can do is refuse to pay taxes. Don’t we remember? They threw the tea overboard, refused to pay taxes, and with that moment of citizen energy we started coming together as a nation. Thanks, Chris Hedges! Count me in! [“Hands Off Iran,” Dec. 10] Hedges leads us, saying he’ll do the tea-party thing if Bush attacks Iran: he will not pay his income tax! I’m with him–it’s wake-up time!
A yearlong survey of 1,500 war opponents indicates that more than two-thirds of them are ready to join Chris Hedges. Those surveyed want to commit this one-time act of nonviolent civil disobedience with large numbers of other citizens in a highly public manner and to redirect their taxes to communities that need them. Like Hedges, they prefer to refuse to pay their taxes in response to a specific war.
The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee conducted this survey and has launched a campaign based on the responses. “Withdraw from War– Pay for Peace: A 2008 War Tax Boycott” provides an online registry of those who will refuse on April 15 to pay for the war in Iraq (and Iran). A health clinic in New Orleans and an Iraqi refugee program in Jordan will receive the resisted taxes.
Voices for Creative Nonviolence, War Resisters League, Veterans for Peace, and the Nonviolent Direct Action Working Group of United for Peace and Justice are promoting this boycott (for information go to www.wartaxboycott.org).
Chris Hedges has the right idea. Too many Americans who should know better are content merely to disapprove, tsk-tsk, wave signs or protest at rallies. It’s way past time to put our money where our mouths are. I’m only surprised Hedges has drawn his line in the sand as far back as he has. For me, the government crossed that line with the Iraq invasion in 2003. I stopped paying federal income taxes then and have since reduced or eliminated my contributions to other federal taxes as well.
Now I’m putting all of my time and money on the side of my values instead of letting Congress spend it on Pentagon priorities and political pork. Why wait for the next atrocity? Join the War Tax Boycott today. There are many ways to resist taxes: legal ways and ways that require civil disobedience, safe ways and ways that take courage. There’s a method that’s right for you.
When Chris Hedges writes, “A country that exists in a state of permanent war cannot exist as a democracy,” he recalls Benito Mussolini, who said in 1933: “Fascism above all does not believe either in the possibility or utility of universal peace. It therefore rejects the pacification which masks surrender and cowardice” (read, cut and run). “War alone brings all human energies to their highest tension and sets a seal of nobility on the people who have the virtue to face it.” War as virtue, Mars as savior. Hedges is eminently correct. One mark of a fascist state is perpetual war. And that is where this Administration is dragging us in the Middle East.
A FRIEND IN THE WHITE HOUSE
Bill Moyers’s comments [Dec. 10] about the “friendship” his father found in FDR brought tears to my eyes and the memory to mind that my own father felt the same. We grew up in Memphis in a working-class railroad neighborhood. My father was a locomotive engineer and voted for Hoover in 1932. He had finished the tenth grade in Fayette County, where he grew up; my mother, the third grade. During FDR’s first term, my father had a change of mind and heart and thereafter idolized Roosevelt. FDR spoke for the little guy, he would tell me. When Roosevelt died in 1944, our whole neighborhood went into mourning. I have rarely seen my father so distraught. My father taught me the dangers of an oligarchy of the rich ruling the country, and I have never forgotten the lesson. He was right, and still is today.
JAMES A. SANDERS
UNLICENSED, UNINSURED & ON THE ROAD
San Antonio, Tex.
“Showdown at the DMV” [Dec. 10] might have mentioned that in his repeated attacks on New York’s Governor Spitzer, Lou Dobbs constantly used the term “give away” driver’s licenses to undocumented workers. Dobbs was not only arguing that they should not be allowed to get driver’s licenses but implying that Spitzer intended to award the licenses gratis, without the required tests. It was journalistic dishonesty at its ugliest.
Far Rockaway, N.Y.
I live in Queens. I have had no accidents, no tickets, no claims and carry no collision insurance–yet I pay $1,400 a year for auto insurance. Any illegal who did obtain a driver’s license would have no driving record, so the insurance companies would make him an assigned risk and charge several thousand dollars a year for minimum coverage. If these immigrants are doing menial jobs (the ones no American will do), how could they afford auto insurance?