Friday, November 2, 2012

A bi-partisan hot dog? Or just me!

Who, in their  right mind, wants to politicize hot dogs? Photograph by Gregory Tejeda
I never realized until Thursday that I have been eating politically bipartisan hot dogs all these years.

I came to this realization when I happened to be walking along Randolph Street and I noticed the America’s Dog storefront located just east of State Street.

NOW I HAVE never eaten an America’s Dog wiener, not even on Thursday. In fact, I doubt I would have paid any attention to the place – had it not been for the Election Day-themed storefront window.

They are among the many types of businesses that are trying to sell products by claiming our choices reflect our political beliefs. How many people have gone out of their way to purchase a 7-Eleven cup of coffee of either a “blue” or a “red” color – so that anybody who happens to see us holding the cup will get an instant message?

Not so much what our political partisanship is, but that we’re dorky enough to want to reflect our politics with our choice of a coffee cup!

Personally, I usually ignore places that want me to reflect my political choices with my superficial purchases – which is what I would describe the America’s Dog franchise as doing.

FOR TO READ the windows informed me that Democrats prefer certain condiments on their hot dogs, while Republicans pick completely different items.

The mustard that I usually put on a hot dog? That makes me a Democrat.

But those onions I also add on after running a couple of lines of mustard form the squirt bottle? Pure Republican!

Although maybe I get a “pass” on account of the fact that they seem to highlight grilled onions (which I enjoy occasionally), even though I usually prefer raw onions chopped into tiny pieces.

MY BREATH MAY stink afterward, but the flavor it adds to the hot dog (provided the wiener in question isn’t some cheap generic brand) is worthwhile!

So am I just one of those wishy-washy people who can’t make up their mind? Call me a culinary independent – if you will.

But I couldn’t help but notice one aspect of their partisan condiment breakdown. It seems that those people who put ketchup and pickle relish (and not the good kind of relish, but that mushy, pasty stuff that you get in a jar at the supermarket) are pure 100 percent Republican.

Ketchup and relish made the GOP list for condiment choices.

PERSONALLY, I THINK the only people who should be excused for eating a hot dog with ketchup and relish on it are those who are under 6 years old – they’re too young to know any better (although their parents ought to be subjected to 100 hours of being locked in a room with the television perpetually tuned to campaign advertising).

That’s a kiddie hot dog (albeit one that I wouldn’t have eaten at that age)!

So does that mean that people who would eat it are nothing more than child-like in their Republican-leaning ideological ramblings?

All that talk of “personal responsibility” that often comes across as they don’t want business interests to be held responsible for their screw-ups isn’t so much mean-spirited, as much as it is just people who don’t know any better politically?!?

PERHAPS WE SHOULD pity the kind of people who seriously think that Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., has been a responsible public official during his two years in Congress?

Nah! They’re the kind of people who would probably try to make us eat ketchup-laded hot dogs, which strikes my culinary sensibility as being the equivalent of that nonsense-talk we’ve heard from certain GOP officials who persist in speaking about rape in less-than-sensitive ways,.

Which ultimately is the reason why I kept walking past America’s Dog, and ultimately stopped off for a quick mid-day bite to eat at the Gold Coast Dogs on Wabash Avenue. It’s nowhere near the taste sensation that it was at the original location just north of the river on Clark Street.

But a “char dog” with everything has a certain kick to it that ought to rise above partisan politics.


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