Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Taxpayer Education Day, April 17, 2006
After Action Report

Mom and I arrived close to the post office at about 4:45 p.m. We hurriedly walked the two and one-half blocks to the west side of the building. Much to our surprise, someone was already there handing out flyers. It was IFIRE member, Ron! We all introduced ourselves and got right back down to the business of handing out flyers.

I brought four signs and ten flags. One sign said, “Pay Your Taxes! Illegal Aliens Need Them.” Another said, “Taxes too High? Here’s why.” The last two said, “$50,000,000,000 That’s how much YOU PAY for illegal aliens!” and “HONK if you support ending illegal immigration.” Mom held the “Pay Your Taxes” sign while Ron and I passed out flyers. It wasn’t long before other IFIRE members started showing up. Seven members attended. There were just enough people to hold all four signs, while two passed out flyers, and Glenda, our photographer and my friend, took pictures.

By and large, the responses we received were positive. However, there were some who were openly opposed to us. One common thread throughout the negative responses and arguments is that they were clearly arguments based on emotion, not logic.

For instance, the most commonly uttered argument issued from people waiting in line to pay their taxes was, “Do you speak Indian? Are you an American Indian? If not, you’re here because of immigrants.” I would mention at every opportunity that immigrants from the past didn’t come here with their hands out, which they seemed all too happy to ignore.

One lady was visibly upset and kept uttering, “That’s disgusting!” She then leaned out her window and screeched, “Do you shop at Walmart?!” I do, am not ashamed to say it, and told her. She said that if I would stop shopping there, pay “real prices” for things, companies would have no need to hire illegal immigrants. There you have it, folks. The true culprit of this illegal invasion is the EEEEEEEVIL Walmart and those who shop there! *eyeroll*

Another lady took a flyer, started reading it, then became visibly upset, crumbling the flyer and throwing it out onto the sidewalk. I said, “Uh, that’s littering.” Mom just put her foot on it and said, “That’s okay.” The lady screamed out her window, “God loves them too!” and we all agreed, pointing out that no one had suggested otherwise. She ignored us.

One young man read our signs as he was waiting in line and started bellowing at the top of his lungs, “Let’s hate everyone! Let’s be against everyone who’s different!” I told him, “I don’t hate anyone. Do you?” He felt it better not to answer and drove on toward the mailboxes.

Those who were appreciative of our efforts were gracious and told us that they supported us. Some blared their horns while waiting in line. Other cars honked as they drove past. We received countless thumbs up, but not one mid-finger salute! One smartly dressed woman read the sign I was holding, the “$50 billion” sign, and stopped. She said, “WOW! My taxes are higher than they should be and I’m helping to pay that?! I had no idea!” Had no one else said a word to us, her response alone would have made the time and effort worthwhile, in my opinion. She was truly shocked.

I use every event as an opportunity to learn, and this one was no exception. I learned, or, the more appropriate term is probably that it was confirmed for me, that some people are content with their own ideas, whether they be fact-based or not. If people are more comfortable believing illegal aliens only come here to work, that they do not use taxpayer funded services, or that we do what we do because of “hatred,” nothing anyone can say or do will change their minds because their minds aren’t interested in knowing the truth. Their overriding concern is merely their comfort. Also, I now consider it a mission to learn some kind of basic Indian language so that I can respond to such emotionally based arguments as we were given in Cherokee, Apache, or the like. I can’t wait to see their jaws drop when I do and I hope Glenda is around to capture the moment on film. The last thing I learned is that, at every function, someone should have a large sign with the organization’s name and website information on it. We didn’t and I wished many, many times that I had made one to bring.

It was a positive experience. The postal employees were accommodating and some even asked for flyers. Every postal truck leaving the facility, with the exception of one, honked their air horns upon reading our “HONK” sign. We had 500 flyers and ran out shortly before 6:30 p.m., at which point we simply held our signs for the benefit of passersby. We would mention www.ifire.org to those who were supportive of us and apologize for having run out of flyers. Many promised to visit our website.

I would like to, again, thank Ron, Glenda, Gena, Mary, Joanne, and my Mom, Edytha, for their participation and hard work. I look forward to educating the public alongside these fine folks in the near future and hope to meet many more of you as time goes on.

Signage and flags - $21.00
Parking - $2.00
Spending the afternoon in the sun with great folks and seeing the look on that woman’s face when she finally “got it” – PRICELESS

Tish, Co-Director
Marion County, IFIRE

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