No one really likes artichokes even though we think we should. To be specific, I’m talking about the cut from the stalk version and not the cleaned up marinated-in-a-glass-jar kind.
Every spring I announce to my family that I’m going to serve fresh artichokes. I tend to skew towards all in so I present the proclamation as if dinner may change their lives.
I buy the odd vegetables with great anticipation. When I get home I reacquaint myself with their thorns and creepy prehistoric hairy centers. An artichoke is the stegosaurus of the vegetable world and when bolted has an unexpected Dr. Seussian magenta bloom.
It looks like something you shouldn’t eat.
I trim the thorns and steam the orbs for what seems like forever. Then there are the individual sides of melted butter, lemon and hollandaise sauce to prepare.
We all gather at the table and I give the primer, again, on how to eat an artichoke. Everyone complies and drags their teeth along the often tough, fleshy leaves.
My family tries to meet me at my enthusiasm but truth be told the strange vegetable doesn’t usually live up to the hype. We each think to ourselves that we could easily live without another artichoke.
I know it’s not an obvious comparison but it seems to me that many Americans treat their one precious vote like an artichoke and have come to the conclusion that voting isn’t worth the trouble or disappointment.
There’s a lot of red, white and blue lip service given to democracy and our duty to participate. Of course we all know that the reality is much messier than the story we tell. Like the artichoke, there are many thorns in the process and all our country’s isms are under the leaves in the hairy prehistoric center.
But what if someone told you that eating an artichoke might prevent one senseless shooting death. Most likely you would eat the artichoke, right?
VOTE. It’s easier than eating an artichoke.
End note: Need more information? Ballotpedia is a nonpartisan online political encyclopedia. Founded in 2007, it covers American federal, state, and local politics, elections, and public policy. Ballotpedia’s stated goal is “to inform people about politics by providing accurate and objective information about politics at all levels of government.” ballotpedia.org