I think it’s time for a new national symbol.
I’m not saying we ditch the flag or the bald eagle – I’m a fan of both.
No, I think we need a National Breakfast Food.
I nominate the smoothie.
You know why? Because there’s a wonderous variety of smoothies, all sorts of different colors and flavors and almost all of them are good. Just throw a bunch of ingredients together and there’s a good chance it’ll work out.
You use yogurt? Fine. Orange juice? That works, too. Grab almost any combination of fruit out of the refrigerator or freezer, hit blend, and it’ll probably taste okay. Peanut butter and frozen bananas may not be my choice, but if that’s what floats your boat, I’m not going to judge. I don’t know anything about the kale/broccoli variety of smoothie, because it seems kind of gross to me and I’ve never even tried one. And I don’t have to – no one is forcing me to try something that I find unappealing.
If you think about it, a smoothie is practically the definition an American food, simply because it lacks definition. It is uniquely adaptable and individualized.
How American is that? Look at our original thirteen colonies. You had Puritans in New England, southern aristocrats, and in between a bunch of farmers, hunters, and just plain misfits who wanted to be left alone. People who didn’t have much in common figured out a way to work together. Let’s face it – Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were clearly blueberries and pineapple. Not much in common, but agitate together and…wow. Alexander Hamilton and John Adams? Same thing.
Is it just me or does it seem like we’ve lost a lot of that in the past few years? Let’s face it, as Americans we’ve always fought - sometimes shedding actual blood. Even when it’s just words, we fight with passion, conviction, and serious intent. Centuries of loud, profound disagreements.
Even though serious disagreement is a part of our heritage, if you read our history, you’ll see we make the most progress as a country during those times when we’re able to rise above our differences, acknowledge that the people we disagree with still have a right to be heard. We need to do a better job of acknowledging when someone else’s actions are none of our business. One of my favorite quotes is by Thomas Jefferson, from 1782. He was talking about the proper reach of government. It reads, “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
There it is. In a country this big, this diverse, we need a government to intervene when someone with power and money is causing their neighbor an injury. We need to step in when there’s actual damage being done. We need to learn where to draw the line between, “…that’s not something I would do,” and, “…there ought to be a law.”
Oh, well. I think I’ll go get some pineapple, yogurt, and champagne, and make myself a smoothie. That doesn’t sound good to you? Yeah, well, I don’t care. It’s not really your problem.
I’m not asking you to eat it.
Copyright 2019 Brent Olson