Tax Day Rally 2012

Well ladies and gentlemen, the time for the 2012 Tax Day Rally has come and gone.

On April 14th, the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party held their annual event in downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia.  The event boasted an impressive list of speakers including Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.  Even if you missed the gathering, you can still either read about it on or watch a slideshow video on youtube.

Enjoy and make certain to attend in 2013!

File Your Taxes for Free!

Buried within my email inbox, I discovered a message that is important for many Virginians as we prepare to file our income taxes.  Governor Bob McDonnell wants Virginia residents to know “that the VA Free File program gives more than 2 million low- and moderate-income Virginia taxpayers the opportunity to prepare and electronically file their 2011 federal and state income tax returns for free this tax season.”

But who is eligible to file their taxes for free?  Well, as the Governor goes on to say, “This year I urge all Virginia taxpayers who earned $57,000 or less in adjusted gross income last year to go to the Tax Department’s website to see if they qualify to use VA Free File.”

If you are like me, you’ve been filing online for years now.  It’s easy, it’s fast, and it’s relatively inexpensive.  But now, it can be free too!  Sign me up!

So can you file your taxes for free?  You should head on over to and find out today.  Thanks to the Governor’s note, I saved about $50.  I know that I want to keep more of my money in my own pocket, especially in these tough economic times.  Can’t you say the same?

Tax Day 2011

Well, ladies and gentlemen, tax day is fast approaching.

Hopefully you’ve gotten your taxes finished and filled and aren’t scrambling around gathering W-2s and various receipts.  But putting such unpleasantness aside, April 15th means another Tea Party tax day rally is right around the corner.  If you will recall, a mere three hundred and fifty days or so ago, hundreds of folks jammed into Harrisonburg’s Court Square to voice their support for fiscal responsibility and constitutional restraint.  But if you thought last year was big, I’m pretty sure you haven’t seen anything yet.

Tax Day 2010

On Saturday April 16th, the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party will be hosting Tax Day 2011.  This event promises to be exciting as it features former Governor and Senate hopeful George Allen, former Tea Party leader and Senate hopeful Jamie Radtke, Representative Bob Goodlatte (VA-6), State Senator Mark Obenshain (Harrisonburg-26), nationally known 2008 campaigner Tito “the builder” Munoz, and Joe Oddo with The Fair Tax.  In addition, you can pick up shirts, bumper stickers, political playing cards, and assorted other Tea Party memorabilia.

This event should be one you don’t want to miss.  I’ll be in downtown Harrisonburg from the beginning to the end, 1 PM to 5PM.  Join me on Saturday.  You won’t regret it.

Scenes from The Tea Party

I’m pleased to announce that the Tea Party gathering in downtown Harrisonburg on Tax Day went quite well.  Coming on the back of the recent JMU riot, I suppose some folks feared the worst from a political gathering like this one.  (If you missed hearing about the JMU fiasco, head on over to hburgnews for the story.)  Despite some liberals’ misgivings, the only message was principled politics, not personal hatred.  Unlike events elsewhere, there were no signs threatening violence and no signs calling for Obama’s head.  All they asked was for limited government and liberty.  Although sometimes people from other parts of the state and country malign citizens of the Shenandoah Valley as backwards and rednecks, I’m pleased to say that we have enough decency and common sense to act in a dignified manner.  (To return to that JMU matter, you should know that most of the people charged with felonies and misdemeanors were neither JMU students nor Valley residents.)

Along with the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party members, were former Senator George Allen, former RPV chairwoman Kate Obenshain, Americans for Prosperity’s Ben Marchi, and Senator Mark Obenshain.  They all gave impassioned speeches in favor of our shared principles.  I don’t know how many hundreds of people were gathered on the courthouse grounds yesterday, but you can use my pictures to get a rough estimation.  Fortunately, the day was blessed with perfect weather.

I cannot tell you how inspiring it is to see so many of my fellow citizens getting involved.  But, simply showing up for an event is the easy part.  We must stay active in politics and constantly promote our principles whether it is through the local tea party, the Republican committee, or some other means.  A word of warning, however, is that we cannot and must not be complacent, marginalized, co-opted, or taken for granted.  Then, and only then, can we create the real change we need in our city, our state, and in our country.

Thank you Shenandoah Valley Tea Party.  Y’all enjoy the photos!

A Call For Civility

Well, today is April 15, the dreaded tax day.  I just finished up and e-filed my returns.  Man, when you have to pay even more into the system, it is really tough.  Unfortunately, I just don’t simply have hundreds or thousands of dollars simply lying around, just waiting for me to hand them over to the federal and state government.  My non-discretionary spending these last couple of months has been practically nonexistent!  But enough on Tax Day…I’ll save that for the article about today’s Tea Party event downtown.

The wait is over; The Harrisonburg Times is now online.  Sure, I still have a lot of unanswered questions.  Will it bleed liberalism?  Will a conservative like me have a welcome place?  Only time will tell.  I encourage you to trot on over to the Harrisonburg Times’ website to check it out.   As you know, on The Virginia Conservative, I freely share my ideology.  For my first submission for the Times, I chose a bit of neutral ground, calling for a shred of civility in the political debate.  Although I encourage you to browse the site to get a better feel for it, you can find my post, “The Need for Political Dialogue” here.  As for the article itself, I like the picture the mayor selected, showing an elephant and donkey butting heads.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the whole Republican vs. Democrat, liberal vs. conservative thing that we fail to realize that our ideological counterweights have as much of a right to an opinion as we ourselves do.  Politics shouldn’t always be about us against them.  So many talking heads on both the left and the right spend most of their time vilifying and belittling the other side that neither can legitimately offer any sort of rational political discourse.  Well, does that failing mean we should just give up our beliefs?  Should I stop being a conservative?  Absolutely not!  After writing the Times article, I remembered an event from my college days when I met a now good friend for the first time.  As is typical with my discussions, the conversation eventually turned to politics.  Do you know what I said to him as soon as I learned that he was a liberal?  “Please don’t hate me for being a conservative!”  It’s true.  Can you imagine?  Unfortunately, especially in political circles, we learn at an early age to hate those who are different, those with whom we disagree.  As a result, many of us become timid, afraid to speak out or take sides for fear of condemnation.  I learned that lesson the hard way from a few liberals, but I assure you that I know a handful of conservatives who act the very same way!  Sadly, that hard truth echoes in our government today.  Those with power subdue those without.  Speeches are just for show.  There is no dialogue, no free exchange of ideas, just calculated vote tallies and predetermined outcomes.  Is this conclusion the desired end result of the great American experiment…to live in a society where political questioning is an outdated relic of the “old days”?  Do we now toil in the age of dictatorship of the majority?  Is there no recourse?

Yes, my friends, there is a solution.  We need political dialogue in the home, in the school, in the workplace, in the media, in the church, in the political parties, and especially on the ever-expanding Internet.  Be a conservative (ideally), be a libertarian, or heck, and even be a liberal or an authoritarian if you must.  Just get informed and remember always to be polite, especially with those who hold an opinion different than your own.  Your enemies may mock your beliefs and, if that fails, they may try to tear you down personally, but stand firm.  You have as much a right to your opinion as they to theirs.  Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to be threatened into silence or to resort to their bullying tactics.  By doing so, not only do you and your cause become weaker, but society suffers too.  Personally, I may strongly disagree with you and offer my own opinions, but as long as you are knowledgeable and courteous, I will respect you.  The great questions of the day should not be decided by blood and iron or through fear, ignorance, or intimidation, but rather as a result of well-reasoned discussion and a respect for the law and humanity.  Hold on just a minute…am I in the wrong business?

Whose Money Is It?

Well, like clockwork, tax day is fast approaching.  Like so many people I know, I believe that the federal income tax (along with the 16th Amendment, of course) should be abolished.  Citizens should have first claim to their money, not the federal government.  The income tax has led to a ballooning in federal revenue, which in turn has given rise to a massive increase in federal spending, government programs, bailouts, and unconstitutional usurpations.  How much longer will the American public continue to remain silent in the face of our growing welfare state?

This year, a coalition of conservative and libertarian organizations have risen in protest.  They include groups such as Americans for Prosperity, Campaign for Liberty, Freedom Works, The Leadership Institute, Young Americans for Liberty, and many others.  They are supporting a number of rallies across the nation on April 15th in opposition.  Here in Virginia, you can, (as of March 31), find rallies in:  Abingdon, Roanoke, Rocky Mount, Lynchburg, Charlottesville, Richmond, Newport News, and Virginia Beach.

So head on over to The Tax Day Coalition website to learn more and to sign up.