Standing on the corner of Main and Macral in a small Midwest town, I hopped upon my soapbox and began to harangue the street's passerby".
Hello out there all you Rush, Hannity, Levine, Romney fans and supporters. Can you believe that up to 47% of Americans pay no income taxes? Can you believe so many people live on handouts from the government? Imagine all those welfare mothers with their 80-90 kids? Those homeless mentally ill constantly bugging you on the street; that 70 year old lady who paid into social security for 40 years and now does nothing but live on the dole; that police officer that risked his life for twenty years and now collects what he believes is a well deserved pension; the fireman who had to leave the job on 3/4 salary after breaking his back rescuing some kid from a burning building".
"Wait!" shouts a man wearing a tea shirt reading "Romney not Obamy", " what do you mean lumping firemen, police officers and little old ladies together with irresponsible welfare mothers and the mentally ill".
Secure in the knowledge I had a foot and 60 pounds on the guy I stood my ground and replied,
"Sorry but it was not I who who came up with that but the presidential candidate Mitt Romney"
The man, taken aback as one horse-kicked to the chest replied, "You a damned liar!".
"Sorry sir, but its the truth"
"Prove it to me, and by the way, I'm a retired cop from Medesto. 22 years on the force"
I turned to my computer laptop and played the now infamous 47% video.
"That ain't nothing. He's talking about all those blacks and Mexicans that collect welfare checks"
Turning away from the screen I asked the now smirking stranger if he paid any income tax last year
"Of course I don't, I'm on a pension"
"Sorry sir, but he explicitly includes those that don't pay income tax as part of the 47%"
I offered the man a seat as his eyes looked a little glazed and he begins rocking back and forth at a dangerous angle.
"It can't be! It can't be!" He mumbles to himself.
Next I ask him if he has any family members. He tells me he has a brother who is an ardent supporter of Romney. He tells me his brother works a a local coal mine.
"Does he receive a paycheck"
Of course he does"
Feeling a little like Maury Povich who has just relayed some devastating news to a guest than holds them by the arm and tells them "Wait there's more", I crouch down next to him and whisper in his ear, "He's also included in the 47%"
Up like a shot he rises to his feet. I wince
"What the hell do you mean?! Every time he's paid they take out federal income tax from his paycheck, dammit!".
"Listen closely to what Romney say on the video "47% of people don't pay income tax"
"But my brother does"
"No he does not" I gently reply as I watch my new, very irate friend clench and unclench his fists
"What your brother pays is a payroll tax. Income tax is income earned from stocks, bonds, a business. Like that"
His breath has become short and raspy, sweat runs from his brow and his skin a plaster white.
I don't want to do it but I feel the need to ask him one more question
"Sir, sir!. If you don't mind can I ask you one more question"
He neither answers yes or no so I give it a shot
"Sir, are your parents still alive"
With great difficulty he nods his head "yes"
"Do they receive social Security or Medicare?"
As if answering a question one finds totally unnecessary, he looks at me sideways with a strained look of contempt and answers "Yes, both on Social Security and Medicare"
"Don't you even think it" he glares at me with a wildness that sends a chills through my much bigger frame"
"Sorry ,Sir 47%"
Before I could blink he was up on his feet, face red and contorted in way I would have thought physically impossible.
"I don't want to hear no more! Leave me be! You are the Antichrist!
With that, he turned heel and proceeded to run toward a house of worship about 50 yards away. BY one of the windows stood the pastor intently watching us throughout our discussion.
"Pastor! Pastor! Please help me! The Antichrist just made me eat from the tree of forbidden fruit. Now I am doomed"
The pastor looked down on me with a grimace and slammed the window shut so hard he broke one of the glass panes.
I turned and sat atop my soapbox for about an hour ruminating about my encounter with this gentlemen who just before we met was happy and secure in his ignorant bliss. I began to feel a little guilty about what had transpired and the effect it had on this stranger. But I was sure that I had did the right thing as I always thought it better to be knowledgeable, even if it discomforted me at times, than then to spend my life in ignorant bliss. It was just at that moment I heard a chilling scream and watched as the chapel's preacher and janitor struggled to pull my new found acquaintance from a third floor window, Turning away I thought to myself " Maybe, there are some who need the comfort of ignorance like a child needs a pacifier to sleep. I then stooped down, picked up my soapbox, dropped it in a corner trashcan and went on my way, a little sad but also a little wiser.