Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hitting Home

Unfortunately, I'm old enough to have been a "protester" during the Vietnam War. One of the popular ways we protested was to refuse to pay the then newly-instituted telephone tax, created expressly to "help pay for the Vietnam War". This amounted to about 86 cents per month on my family's bill.

Each month the unpaid balance would be carried forward to the next month. After a few months it might be $2.86 (all numbers approximate). Eventually I got a notice saying that if I didn't pay the tax, they would take measures. They wouldn't turn off your phone, because then you wouldn't have to pay the tax. But they would take measures.

Eventually, two agents showed up at my door who wanted to discuss this with me. We sat in my living room while they tried to get me to pay the $12.72 now due. I explained that I saw a direct connection between my paying .... and napalm burning the bodies of innocents. My dollars were buying the napalm which was frying the bodies of little children and I couldn't go along with that. I did not want their blood on my hands.

We were all very polite. They said they understood, but that they wanted me to understand that they would take the measure of garnishing my University stipend check. We all agreed that we would "do what we had to do".

When they stood up to leave, I asked what it was costing to collect each dollar . He said that it was about $100 cost per $1 collected, but that THE PRESIDENT (Nixon) was insisting that every dollar be collected, regardless of cost.

My next check listed a $13.66 deduction.

I went to the payroll office the following day and inquired as to who the actual person was who entered the data to deduct the napalm money from my check. I asked if I could speak to that person and they led me to a back desk where an innocuous middle-aged lady asked if she could help me.

I sat down in the chair next to her desk and explained that her last keystroke in the sequence that sent my money to Washington was linked directly to the actual release of the napalm on the children, and she would have to think about that every time she pressed that key ... that the blood would be on her hands. Keystroke = blood on hands.

She freaked and said she would do no such thing and that I should leave. I said I was going to sit there until she agreed to stop napalming the children.

"We'll see about that", as she called security.

Two security guards came and escorted me out of the building.

Each month thereafter (and the tax continues today) 86 cents of my money went to burn little children.

If you have the ability to comprehend, I would strongly recommend that you click on
this (flash movie) link to see what your money is buying in this current war. This is strong medicine and, incidentally, the best and most powerful flash movie I have ever seen.

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