Lauren Tepper

| Letters

April 3, 2011

Dear IRS Personnel:

I am thankful to live in a country that allows freedom of speech. For years I have been exercising my right of free speech by protesting the United States’ aggressive militarism. However, it seems that my voice and the voices of so many others who abhor war have gone unheard. I can no longer in good conscience continue to pay for acts of violence to which I am completely opposed. For that reason I am working with the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee and withholding a portion of my taxes due for 2010.

I fully believe in the principles of truth, justice, and freedom upon which our country was theoretically founded. It saddens me that in the U.S. today, corporate profits control the government and the media, shunting aside the ideals of democracy that could make our country exemplary. I am deeply disturbed by the lack of resources allocated by the U.S. government for essential social services and environmental protection. I am aghast that years after the attacks of 9/11 we are still blindly pointing fingers rather than carefully examining all available evidence. I am appalled that the U.S. openly spies on its citizens and employs techniques of torture and detention without legal rights. I am disgusted that the tax dollars of hard-working U.S. citizens have been doled out to ‘bail out’ big businesses rather than put towards long-term solutions to the economic crisis. Because of all this, I am electing to re-direct a portion of my taxes that would have gone to the government to fund wars, violence, and corporate interests. I am sending my re-directed tax money to humanitarian and environmental organizations working for peace and justice in the U.S. and abroad.

I regret that I must make this decision, but I cannot use my hard-earned money to support the lack of regard for human life and the environment that characterize the current administration. I look forward to the day when justice reigns in the United States, when we use our power and wealth for life-enhancing ventures such as feeding the hungry, defending our freedom, and protecting the environment that sustains us. When the government actively works to eradicate racism, poverty, and abuses of power, when the U.S. becomes a compassionate leader rather than an imperialist force in global politics, and when we make it a priority to provide essential services to all citizens, then I will gladly pay the full amount of my taxes.

Sincerely and peacefully,

Lauren Tepper
Brooklyn, N.Y.