Cindy Sheehan’s Tax Evasion Gambit a Futile Gesture

COMMENTARY | With all American troops out of Iraq, one would have thought that Cindy Sheehan, the woman whose son’s death in that country launched a dubious career of political activism, would at last have been content to mourn in peace.

But one would have been wrong in supposing this. According to the Blaze, Sheehan has gotten a new wind thanks to the occupier movement. She appeared at the Occupy Rose Bowl rally and announced that she had not paid any taxes since her son Casey, an Army specialist, had been killed in Iraq in 2004. The theory is that she would not help to fund America’s “crimes against humanity.”

Anti-war protest through non-payment of taxes is an old tradition. According to Digital History, the writer Henry David Thoreau was obliged to spend the night in jail because of his refusal to pay a poll tax due to his opposition to the Mexican War. The act of civil disobedience and Thoreau’s subsequent writing on the subject served as inspiration for Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

Unfortunately for Sheehan, the consequences of not paying taxes consists of drawing the attention to oneself of the Internal Revenue Service, a large, unwieldy, but largely pitiless organization that does not care whether one fails to pay taxes because of principle or stinginess. This may be part of Sheehan’s plan to get attention. There is nothing like being thrown in jail (just like Thoreau) to pump up ones sense of self worth.

While no doubt folks on the far left fringe of politics will appreciate Sheehan’s gesture, it will prove to be futile. For one thing, Americans are not going to rally to a woman who accuses her own country of crimes against humanity. For another thing, she will be protesting a war that is over.

Sheehan might as well march through the streets chanting, “Ho! Ho! Ho Chi Mihn!” or forming a Copperhead group to let her southern brethren leave the Union in peace. If she decides to resist the IRS’s attempt to collect back taxes, it will be a cry for attention-and for help.

One advises that she should find a reputable tax attorney and open negotiations with the IRS to pay her back taxes over time. Then she should try to live a normal life. She will be more likely to find happiness and contentment that way.

Sources: Cindy Sheehan Announces to Crowd at Occupy Rose Bowl: ‘I Haven’t Paid My Income Taxes’ in Nearly Eight Years, The Blaze, Jan 3, 2011

War Fever and Antiwar Protests: 1820-1960, Digital History

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