It happens every year on April 15 — taxes are due. However, according to the Associated Press, an estimated 132 million Americans will have filed their taxes, approximately 8,000 have not. Many of those who did not file chose to do so in a peaceful protest of the war. Though this is certainly an illegal act, it is one that sends a clear and unified message to the government that many Americans are so against the war, they consider their taxes an accessory to that war.
More Americans should take a page from this silent protest. Breaking the law is not something that should be excused. However, civil disobedience and mass protests that span the entire country in opposition to something viewed as unethical should continue. These protests are not harming anyone; they are not loud or obnoxious. Instead, they reflect intelligence.
Not all of the tax protesters withheld all of their due taxes. Some of those protesting the war figured their taxes and then deducted what they thought would go to the war effort. Some protesters who did file their taxes sent letters to the Internal Revenue Service saying the money meant for taxes had been donated to charities instead.
In a move reminiscent of Transcendentalist David Thoreau, whose protest and choice not to pay his taxes landed him a stint in jail, these protesters are bold. Their move to challenge something as simple as filing taxes — something most Americans grumble about but still do — because they disagree with how their money is spent, is perhaps one of the greatest protests a democratic society can undertake.
Hopefully, other antiwar protesters will take their lead and conduct more intellectual and meaningful protests instead of the run-of-the-mill sign holding and yelling.