One of the great things about being an American is having the privilege of filing our taxes and sending off a great big check to the IRS. Right? Doesn’t everyone just love this annual ritual that turns a normal Spring day into a day of fear and trepidation? And what about the sense of security you get from knowing that the IRS is there to wield the heavy hand of government against the enemies of the Washington power brokers and corrupt politicians that rob us blind and steal our children’s futures? Americans must love Tax Day, because we’ve let it go on for so long, and so many of us fight tooth and nail against any effort to make it all go away.
For as long as I’ve been old enough to pay attention to adult conversations, I have heard people complain about the IRS and the income tax. Even as a wee lad I could tell by the not so happy tones of the adults in the room that these were sore subjects, and fifty years later I cannot remember ever hearing a kind word spoken about either. Why then do they still exist?
Despite their unpopularity, people seem to think these two institutions are permanent fixtures on the American landscape, and there is just nothing we can do about them. Wow, just look how far we’ve come since our forefathers rebelled against a tyrannical king over an unpopular tax. Are we really going to just lay down and take it because our government master say we must? Will we really just shrug our shoulders and say “Oh well” when our elected officials steadfastly refuse to bow to the will of the people? Is that the legacy we want to leave to our children?
Another memory I have as a child is of the Soviet Union. They were the bad guys and had always been there, and it seemed they always would be. The Berlin Wall was a permanent fixture, and it seemed perfectly normal that some people were forced to live as prisoners behind a wall built by their own government. In school, it was just a normal thing to practice hiding under our desks and covering our heads in anticipation of a nuclear attack. It was just the way it was, and the way it always would be.
Along came Ronald Reagan however, a man who had a vision of a world without these scars on society. The ugly things that seemed to be permanent fixtures in our world are no longer there. The Soviet Union fell without our having fired a shot, the Berlin Wall came down at the hands of the people it held prisoner, and my children have never known the fear of living under a nuclear threat. It is truly amazing what a visionary with the ability to appeal to the best parts of humanity can do when given the chance.
America is now experiencing the same kind of malaise that existed when Reagan first challenged Carter for the White House. The world is a dark place on the verge of coming apart at the seams, and people are ready for morning in America once again. We need leadership that refuses to accept that the ugly parts of our world are permanent, and when that leadership appears, we need to believe there can be a better way and be ready to embrace what can be as we let go of what doesn’t have to be.
As you file your taxes, remember that it doesn’t have to be this way. We do not have to put up with a tax code that baffles even those who are paid to administer it, nor do we have to continue to feed the behemoth called the IRS.
This too shall pass.