It may only exist because my mother has taken great pains over the years to remind me of it.
It was either 1991 or ’92, and I am about three years old. At the time I thought of it as a party; I know now it was not.
Numerous people featured in the movie were fixtures in my early life.
They all lived together in this progressive bubble, each with their own way of following their political creed. There’s a lot of singing and chanting; homemade waffles are made quite a few times; Pete Seeger makes an appearance, because of course; and hand-painted, slogan-filled signs are showcased.
It’s Christmas Day and we’re at a house in my hometown of Colrain, Massachusetts. This memory was my mother’s way of telling me that I’ve always, even as a child, been politically active.
We were there offering support to our neighbors, Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner.
Kehler and Corner were far from the only people in the area who refused to pay war taxes.
But they may be more famous than others thanks to a 1997 documentary called An Act Of Conscience, which chronicled their house’s seizure.
My mother had dragged her preschool-aged son to what was essentially an act of civil disobedience.In the documentary, narrator Martin Sheen rattles off the statistic that there are 10,000-some-odd war tax resisters in the country, and claims that the number is growing. Kehler admitted that interest in the practice has peaks and troughs.During the first Gulf War there was heightened appeal, much as there was during Vietnam. Now, however, it’s harder to figure out exactly what one should be resisting.The movie depicts how the two lost their house and occupied it for over a year.With the help of affinity groups, who lived in or near the house, they stayed on the property while the authorities sold it and then when the new tenants attempted to move in.