Monday, March 18, 2013

Have Some Cake And Eat It To

With the recent death of my favorite snack cake, The Twinkie, I have now turned to more traditional desserts: cakes and pies. I enjoy pies in varying degrees. I love traditional cherry, apple, Boston cream and chicken pot pie. I also tolerate peach, lemon and coconut (if it has loads of that creamy meringue stuff on top). I probably wouldn't pass up on key lime, either. But I will not eat mincemeat, rhubarb or anything labeled as "sugar-free."

Cakes are also terribly delicious in various forms of chocolate, strawberry or carrot (the closest thing to a vegetable that I will ever eat).

The only problem with these types of desserts is cutting the pies and cakes into slices. I am not very good at slicing cakes evenly. I try very hard but my cake slices wind up looking like a gerrymandered map of congressional districts in East Texas. That's why I like to cut a pie or cake into two separate but equal pieces. Plus I'm not beyond shoving a whole cake or pie into my, proverbial, pie hole. 

When I think about pies and cakes, especially the ones cut into two equal pieces, I often think about our country, the good ol' U.S. of A. It seems America is becoming more and more of us vs. them. There is very little in between anymore. You are either on this side or the other side, the good side or the bad side, the losing side or the winning side, the cake side or the pie side. 

I suppose this isn't a new thing. When I was growing up in rural Oklahoma many people fell on one side or the other. There were some folks in my hometown who actually chose to go to Oklahoma State University, wear black and orange and root for the Cowboys. And there were plenty of others who were smart enough to wear the crimson and cream of the University of Oklahoma and root for the Sooners, the World Champions of the World. Some people are just strange like that. There are very few Okies who feel neutral on those issues. Oh, I know there are a handful of Tulsa Hurricane fans out there, and some people will occasionally skip the annual Bedlam Series game between OU and OSU to watch the Mighty Tigers of East Central University take on Southern Nazarene, but not too many. 

Our country seems to be the same way. 

The newest debate here is gun control laws. Most people fall on the two different sides. On one side is the NRA and others, who strongly support the second amendment to the United States Constitution. And on the flip side of that argument are those who believe that our country could probably do away with a few assault weapons and 20-shot magazines to make us all a little safer. But there doesn't seem to be many voices in the middle. 

This past presidential election was also extremely divisive. Barak Obama secured a second term, but only received 51 percent of the vote. 

Congress can't get anything done in Washington because everybody is either a Republican or a Democrat and both sides see the other as the enemy. One side thinks gun control is good, so the other side has to be against it. Republicans think Democrats are agents of the Devil, who would like to create a failed Marxian-type of Utopia. Democrats think Republicans are all just a bunch of narrow-minded fat cats, who would like to create a failed Roman Empire style of purgatory. 

On almost every issue, the country seems to fall on a sharp blade, evenly dividing 350 million of us on one side or the other. The only problem with sharp blades and division, is that nobody wins in the end, everybody just gets cut. The only thing that can be divided without any real negative long-term effects are love and dessert. 

So, I suggest that our country needs to practice a little of both. 

Whenever two groups come to an impasse trying to solve a problem, maybe both sides should just take a break, smile, hug the other person and split a piece of warm cherry pie (with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream). Maybe John Boehner and President Obama can sit down in a room, kick off their shoes, play a game of Twister and share a big ol' hunk of strawberry cake with vanilla icing and candy sprinkles. It's hard to be mad at somebody when your hugging and smiling and eating cake and putting your left foot on the blue circle. It's just not possible.  

Wise sages agree with me too. Ghandi once said, "A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave." That Ghandi was a wise man.

Then there's that quote from either Marie Antoinette or Kim Kardashian who said, "Let them eat cake." Maybe that was a bad choice of words at the time, but it's hard to argue that cake is ever a bad idea.  

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