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Politics, partisanship, pizza


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Is there a food more beloved than pizza?

No, sir.

A late-night staple of the American college student’s diet, what it lacks in nutritional value it makes up for in sheer deliciousness.

But alas, even pizza isn’t safe from the storm of misinformed contention, blind fury and nonsensical ranting that is the American election season.

While on a recent campaign tour to the Sunshine State, President Barack Obama decided to make an impromptu stop in Fort Pierce, Fla., to Big Apple Pizza and Pasta, owned and operated by pizza enthusiast and casual weightlifter Scott Van Duzer.

Van Duzer’s reaction to the president’s visit has since gone viral.

The large, affable-looking gentleman, shocked and overjoyed, promptly lifted Obama into the air and engulfed him in a massive bear hug.

That’s where the real trouble began. Van Duzer said some Republicans in the area have organized a boycott of his store.

They’ve refusied to patronize a pizza establishment owned by a man who once bicycled 1,148 miles in 31 days to raise awareness for the Van Duzer Foundation, the nonprofit he founded to promote blood donations.

They’re doing so simply because of his friendly, spontaneous embrace with the leader of the free world.

Van Duzer was spot on when he said, “There’s no middle line anymore, and that’s exactly what’s wrong with our country right now.”

It would seem many Americans, increasingly boycott-happy and prone to self-righteous Internet “activism” as Election Day nears, feel the need to express their disapproval in a completely irrational manner by boycotting Van Duzer’s shop.

It would be one thing if Van Duzer had chosen to pass out campaign literature and hang giant Obama banners from the rafters. But he didn’t.

Instead, he gave the president one of the most basic signs of human appreciation and affection in our culture, a simple hug.

What could be any less threatening or controversial?

Of course, this isn’t the first time pizza and politics have mixed in this election cycle. On Aug. 27, good old Herman Cain, former nominee for president and the President of Pizza himself, said in an interview with a Time Magazine blogger, “It’s worse to imagine a world with Obama getting a second term than it is to imagine a world without pizza. Because with Obama in a second term, there will be no pizza. For anyone,” Cain said.

One can only hope the majority of Republicans in Fort Pierce see this boycott as we do, remarkably silly and lacking any sort of purpose.

The rhetoric and actions of politically active Americans can be unbelievably ridiculous and short-sighted at times, but we keep hope that the sentiment of these protesters is theirs and theirs alone and doesn’t mirror a wider audience.

Unless, of course, Cain’s statement about instantaneous pizza disappearance under a two-term Obama presidency turns out to be true.

In that case, boycott away.

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