Let Them Eat Ketchup

by Caleb Zigas on November 3, 2004

To be quite honest, I have no time for food right now. I have neither the patience, the appreciation of the sensual, or even the appetite to actually enjoy, or even notice, what food you might put in front of me. I am looking at red. At red states, at red ticker tape on the bottom of my screen, and at one big red bottle. It was my last hope, my deity for this night, and it has let me down. Of all the bottles I was counting on tonight, on champagne, on wine, and on others, it was this one, the Heinz 57 that mattered the most. And it let me down.

What do you eat this morning? I wish I had the answer; an easy meal that I could prepare that would restore, maybe, a measure of normalcy to my morning. But it seems impossible. There is something to be said for the sobering power of a good cup of coffee, for the way that a simple breakfast can tie your feet to the ground. But this morning that might not be enough.

All I can see is red. As a country we have given a voice of approval to the actions of our government-actions that have been almost universally condemned outside of our borders. With this election we, as Americans, have signaled to the world that we believe in the mission of our President to fight a global war on terror that is as much of an ideological battle as it is a physical impression of supposed international might. And yes, this is our President.

It is too easy to abandon the ship at this point. And, to some extent, I would be one of the first to leave. But that is an easy move. Nor, do I think, that we can have breakfast as usual. Our country, the one in which at least some of us see a bounty of potential, has given a mandate to a series of incredibly contentious and worrisome global policices which if we are to disavow in small numbers we will only quiet the voices of dissent. At this point, we must not only continue to eat breakfast, but we must ask for breakfast the way we want it. For that reason, I will have Heinz 57 with my potatoes this morning.

It is no large political statement. In fact, in the face of an electoral college and a popular vote that validate George W. Bush, my breakfast seems about as significant as UN approval is to this administration. That is to say not at all, though by no means should we not go through the process anyways. Of course I am disappointed, disillusioned, disconnected and terminally concerned for not only my own future but for that of our global community. Of course I am distraught, distressed, and depressed, but nonetheless I am still here. We are all still here, and we cannot allow this to make us so disaffected that we love our taste. Our taste for breakfast, our taste for change, our taste for life.

To the red states that have seen this administration fit to stamp with the approval of victory, let them eat ketchup. Let them eat the ketchup that they have now brought upon us, and let them be the ones to watch as the world turns against us. It is too late to run from the tide of national sentiment, and it is a current we are all caught in. The votes will be recounted. The pundits will continue to talk, and we will all have eaten breakfast by the time anyone even reads this. To the administration who now holds this slim margin of voter approval-let the eat ketchup. Let them understand the way the world sees us. Let them understand the position in which we now sit-precariously-on the edge of a future that remains undecided. And let us eat ketchup too. Let those of who sat confidently expecting the waves of change watch as the red states pile up and refuse to dim our voices of dissent. Let those of us who were galvanized by this election continue with the energy this campaign vested within us.

Let those of us who want to leave work to fix the things we’re running from. It’s more important now than ever. It’s too easy to not have breakfast this morning. To not have dinner here tomorrow. Far too easy. The table has been set, we must make of it what we will.

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