IRS Protest: A Firsthand Report

On May 21, 2013 Tea Party Patriots coordinated protest rallies at over 100 IRS offices throughout the nation. I arrived at the national office in Washington D.C. to observe the gathering, but was surprised by the poor attendance.

Given the amount of security circling the IRS building, one would have expected a much larger group of people to have turned up for the demonstration. It is estimated that fewer than 80 people partook in the “flash rally,” though there was an abundance of flags and posters with various catchphrases, such as “Audit the IRS” and “IRS: KGB.”

A man dressed as a Revolutionary War soldier received the most attention. He waved a Pine Tree Flag with the motto “An Appeal to Heaven” and shouted the slogan “revolution against the high taxes.”

According to Tea Party Washington DC founder, Lisa Miller, the rally was meant to be short so that people could drop by and participate during their lunch break. Even so, the protest failed to make much of an impression.  In the mix were only a handful of reporters, and every so often a bystander would snap a picture before walking away.

Given the recent IRS scandal, one would have expected conservatives in the Beltway to be more eager to participate in such a protest. However, this was not the case.  Why not?  Maybe not enough groups were targeted by the IRS to truly anger people. Or maybe not enough people care.

Certainly a bigger demonstration would be needed to send a message to the IRS, a rally that would gather enough people to show the gravity of the situation. For example, Martin Luther King’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963 was one of the largest political protests in the nation’s history—and it had a lasting impact, both on the people and on legislation.

Then again, MLK’s rally was in a fight for civil rights and equality. So perhaps people will only become extremely vocal against the IRS’s injustice when things get really bad.

But by then it will be too late.