I just came here for a bagel, ma’am

I haven’t had a bagel in a while, so I thought I’d make a trip to the local bagel shop.

It’s a long line, just about out the door, but I don’t have much on my plate today so I decide to hop in line.  Within a few seconds a woman in a purple dress, perhaps in her late forties, gets in line behind me and strikes up a conversation.

Lady in Purple:  Isn’t capitalism great?

Me: It sure is.  Everytime I come here,  I kinda wish I owned the place.  It’s just a nice, small, cozy and friendly kind of place, and does quite well.

Lady in Purple:  Lets hope we can get the current administration out so capitalism can continue and we can have places like this.

Gulp . . . I need to tread lightly.  I’m going to try, in a friendly way, to let her know we have a respectful difference of opinion, hopefully laugh it off, and go our merry way.

Me:  (With a smile) Well, you’re talking to the wrong guy if you want to get the current administration out of office.

Lady in Purple: (With a stern look) Oh . . . you are one of those that want places like this, small businesses, to be taxed so high they go out of business.

Wow, that was stern.  Fight or flight? Fight or flight?  I don’t want to get walked on, and I know nothing about her or her background, but she sure does think she knows a lot about me despite never meeting before.  I’m sure she’s a good person, but just real passionate about politics.  Think grace, think extending grace, think . . . how to handle this gracefully but not get beat up.

Me:  I tend to lean towards taxing those who can most afford it and in the fairest way possible, and when it comes to small businesses, the current administration has lowered taxes on small businesses numerous times, they are trying to help small business owners.

Uh oh, this woman’s brow has lowered and she has now taken a step towards me.

Lady in Purple: (In the most sarcastic tone) Oh . . . they have, huh?  They are destroying America.

Me:  (With hopefully a polite, friendly smile) Look ma’am, I just came here for a bagel on a beautiful Saturday morning and not to talk about divisive things.

There, that should settle things.  Hopefully we can stand in this long line together and get our bagels in peace.

Lady in Purple: We’re not going to have places like this.  You really need to do your research.

Me:  Ma’am.  I just came here for a bagel . . .  I’ve done my research and I’m comfortable with the facts I’ve found, and I’m sure you’ve done yours using your own resources and feel just as comfortable.  I respect your beliefs and hope you can respect mine.

Lady in Purple: Oh, do you?

I can’t take this . . . there’s no benefit in continuing this conversation.

Me:  Yes, ma’am.  I just came her for a bagel.

I then turn around so I’m facing the front of the line and she can only see my back, vowing not to look back at her, and trying to let loose a silent fart I desperately hope knocks her out.

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11 Responses to I just came here for a bagel, ma’am

  1. Randy says:

    Keith,
    With all due respect you are just like our president and you don't have a clue. Can you tell me what most of the deductions really mean? Most our BS deduction that were already in place and just extended our have so much red tape attached to them that they don't help.
    I am a small business owner and the government has added some much red tape to everything you do, and will continue with Obama Care, that it is hard to make a living.
    I also like your comment how you think it is OK to only tax those who really can afford. Everyone can afford to pay some taxes; they might have to give up their smokes or their smart phone.

  2. Nathan Hart says:

    Wow Keith. I think you handled the situation very well. These days, political views are fueled more by emotions than they are by fact. You did a great job in trying to defuse the high emotions of the moment, and by seeking Grace in your every move.

    Just as hatred of George Bush was informed more by emotions than by facts, so hatred of Obama is too. Emotions aren't quickly reversed by facts. Anyway, you're a gift to all who encounter you.

  3. b_caesar says:

    This looks like a perfect conversation to submit to NotAlwaysRight.com, even though there was no employee involved in the exchange…

  4. RPM says:

    Discussing politics with "conservatives" can be tough. Most refuse to admit anything other than their opinion is fact and anyone that disagrees with them is "destroying America". It used to be "why don't you support the troops?".

  5. tommy says:

    How do you explain how half the country pays and the other half receives is a good thing?

  6. Brokelyn says:

    Well done Keith. I hope that if I ever end up in a similar situation that I will respond with the same clarity and respect that you did.

    FYI, 46% of US households did not pay *Federal* income tax in 2011. They paid payroll taxes, Medicaid, and SS. They may have also paid State income tax. This article (and a PDF that it links to) will provide good facts behind the soundbite. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/po

    And if you don't have time to read it, here's a quote that illustrates matters:
    "Roberton Williams, one of the report’s authors, gives the example of “a couple with two children earning less than $26,400. They get an $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700, and that takes their liability to zero."

  7. Ricardo Perry says:

    Sounds like you did your best. Seems like the right just relishes confrontation and never wishes to be respectful of others' political opinions and preferences. I'm sure she is bragging about how she put down the liberal weenie.

    We live in sad times.

  8. Kimmydoodle says:

    I held up commenting when I first read this post, because I wasn't sure it was you. I thought it might be a copy from some other site, but that said, I wasted two days on Facebook arguing with a Republican USDA Food Industry investigator (he lives in a nearby town and I know him personally), because he was angry with Michelle Obama for her efforts to change the way America eats. He started off his rant by calling her “Moochelle” Obama (which really irritated me) and that is what lead to my response. I asked him what his problem was, and he would never give specifics. After several hours of bantering, insinuations and insults, he finally coughed up the fact that our First Lady had convinced Mars Corporation to cut down the “Super Sized Mars bar” (which contains over 500 calories of useless sugar, fats and golly knows what else). I told him I applauded her efforts, and told him to go eat one for lunch and add a Dr. Pepper for good measure. After pressing him for more facts (which he always deferred from doing because “he might lose his job”, eventually, on the last day of this weirdness, he admitted he was perturbed because he was having to work harder at his job – he accused her of making “directives” to the USDA and when we (there were many of us on his arse about his ludicrous statements) advised him that Mrs. Obama could not “make directives”, he mentioned e.coli. Ended up, he was pissed that he had to work harder because the Obama Administration is getting tough on unsafe food handling practices and obesity. The whole thing was ludicrous, and I’m not even including any of the statements other close-minded Republican friends of his attempted to chime in with. Those people are nuts, and with guys like him being a USDA investigator, I weep for our species.

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