Saturday, April 15, the day on which individual income tax returns have been traditionally due, anti-President Donald Trump activists flooded the streets of several major cities across the country to demand Trump release his tax returns.
While I was sent to Downtown Los Angeles to cover the “event” as part of a work assignment and I was not allowed to discuss different approaches to the idea of taxation, I was able to ask many of the attendees whether they were happy about the way the U.S. government handles their tax dollars.
In all cases, participants said “no.” And yet, none of those who talked to me thought of using that particular protest to voice those concerns. Instead, what they were really angry about was that Trump’s returns should be released so that his “ties to the Russians” were finally revealed.
How incredibly naive, even for progressives.
What was more unnerving was that they weren’t even angry that their taxes were now in the hands of a man they disliked, and that for the past eight years, anti-President Barack Obama activists were seeing their tax dollars being used by a man they despised. Instead, they found themselves in the right to demand documents from a man who has no legal or moral obligation to disclose documents related to the government confiscation of his wealth.
As participants answered my questions, saying they were unhappy that their hard-earned money was going to build walls and pay for bombs, not one attendee thought that that would be a much greater reason to go to the streets over. Instead, what mattered to them was Russia and how Trump, the “illegitimate” president, stole the election from the hands of a woman.
Many libertarians felt that none of the 2016 presidential candidates truly spoke to them, but to see so many people allowing their own concerns to be overridden by what the masses — or in this case, the great bulk of mainstream media — tells them that matters, is like watching countless of sleepwalkers march toward an abyss.
Giving up on a fight momentarily in order to stay out of trouble is one thing, but to give up on your individuality in order to let powerful groups with an agenda manipulate your political actions is madness. And yet, as I asked each and every person who agreed to talk to me whether they were unhappy, the answer was yes. But the euphoria tied to the Russia narrative was, unfortunately, just too good to let go.
In a time where addictions have replaced the rational decision-making process, it’s easy to see why many call this the age of outrage. And as I hopelessly looked for someone comfortable enough with their own thoughts to openly talk about their concerns and fight for them, I also found we just can’t depend on masses — no matter how compelling they may seem.