When I first heard that the local Republican Party was moving into the vacant space beside Lenoir City Hall that most recently was the Azteca Burrito restaurant, I had a thought.
Perhaps, I thought, the party is one-upping the Democrats, who lately have been having a number of functions at Howard Brewing. When Azteca Burrito was open, its owners built a bar, so that space not only has a bar to match Howard Brewing, it also has a kitchen!
“The Democrats have beer, but so do we, AND we have freshly grilled burgers,” the Republicans could say.
The Democrats then would have to raise the ante and find a way to provide food too, and probably more variety if they wanted to lure people their way.
Of course, I know the idea is too good to be true.
The result would be another bidding war between the parties, except the kind they have now tends to benefit lobbyists and interest groups, while the average person feels forgotten and left behind, as any supporter of Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders will tell you.
But how much better would it be if, instead of pandering by promising trade wars or free college or other trinkets costing trillions, what the parties provided was an ever-expanding list of options on an actual menu?
“Don’t go to McDonald’s, now GOP stands for ‘Get your Order Personalized,’ and we won’t make you use a kiosk either!”
The Republican menu might lean toward the bold, the barbecue, the Tex-Mex and brisket and steak.
The Democratic menu might have more ethnic specialties, more unusual spices and ingredients, plus vegetarian options.
Or maybe I’m exposing my preconceptions.
What they would cook would be less important than the fact that everyone would have no doubt at all what the effect of their political preference was. It wouldn’t be an idea or policy, it would be on a plate, right there in front of them.
“Make America Great Again”? Make America’s steaks, man. We’ll decide whether they’re great, and if they’re not we’ll go across the street and see if the other guys do better “Fighting For Us” against indigestion.
I’d work in the slogans of the Libertarian and Green Party candidates too if I could find them.
I think this is the ideal recipe, so to speak, for political reform.