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Thursday, June 9, 2016

I Choose Chipotle (I'm With Her)



Way back when, during the era of Bush II, I was a college student, hungry for cheap, filling food that didn't induce the deep feelings of shame and guilt I got from scarfing down McDonald's fries. A good friend recommended "this Mexican spot with really good burritos where you get to pick the toppings"... a selling point he knew would work for me as I am pickier than an 8 year old with a nostril full of boogers. And that was how I met Chipotle. Ah... the golden age of Chipotle. It was bright, inviting, and my palette was too immature and uncultured to know that I wasn't eating authentic Mexican food. "Barbacoa" sounded exotic and the price was almost too good for a student eking it out on a scholarship and part time waitressing job to believe. Plus... it tasted amazing. Before I knew it, I was following up late night study sessions with two burritos. Yes, I said it... two burritos. Like I said... this was the golden age. 

Taqueria Habanero - Washington, DC, United States. From clockwise:   Shrimp... 11a Chicken... 1p Beef Tongue... 3p Canitas w/pineapple... 6p Al pastor... 9p

Then I got older, a little more worldly, tried other things, and I realized... Chipotle is not as perfect as I initially thought. There are lots of other options - many that are much more authentic, with more exciting ingredients. I discovered new, revolutionary options like food trucks and Groupon and Chipotle got a backseat.

I still visited Chipotle when I needed something tried and true; I just didn't get the same high I used to get. 

And then, years after our first dalliance, Chipotle dropped the ball. It started out as a little trickle - a few restaurants were making people sick. And then it became a full blown outbreak and by the time it was over, hundreds of folks were affected. It was bad. Real bad. I avoided Chipotle long after the "all clear" was given. I just didn't trust Chipotle. 

Fast forward to 2016. My office hosted a Cinco de Mayo party, catered by... you guessed it Chipotle. It was hard to push the virus to the back of my mind, but I realized I had two (free) choices: Either the cup of noodles stash in the cafeteria or the free trays of warm tortillas, flavored chicken, and various salsas. Technically, I could have taken a third option and gone out and purchased food elsewhere, but the two major choices in front of me were Cup of Noodles or slightly untrustworthy, but steaming and familiar Chipotle. What should I do?

I chose Chipotle.

And that's why #ImWithHer.


In case the analogy hasn't hit you yet... 

The first time I really heard Hillary speak in person was in 2004 at the Women's Right March in Washington, DC. You may not believe this, but in 2004, 2004 YA'LL!, when Hillary stepped up to the podium, the crowds of women chanted "Hillary for President! Hilary for President!" By then, she'd been an advocate for progressive causes, she was a well-liked Senator, women's rights advocate, and had persevered in spite of her husband's horrific scandal in a way that even 20 year old me knew was admirable.

But by the time 07 rolled around, I had been introduced to other potential candidates, namely Senator Barack Obama. Sure, Hillary was a good choice, but Barack was a better choice. He did more than get the job done, he did it well, and with an engaging smile. Hillary became the fallback (or ahh the Secretary of State) -  just like Chipotle. And then she dropped the ball, a few times to be honest. She bungled through the Benghazi ordeal (although all things considered, she can't be blamed for someone else's terrorism), she used her personal email instead of her work email (I've done this one too), and along the way, she's said a few things that really just... weren't her best work (e.g. the super predator controversy). But let's keep it real. When all is said and done, you can still count on Hillary to get it done.

Hillary is not charismatic. Hillary is not warm. Hillary is not friendly. But Hillary is...

Experienced. A proven public servant. Smart. The diplomat we need. And she agrees with Senator Sanders on just about everything. I don't need to read you her resume; you know it. 

There's too much at stake for us to choose the Drumpf of Noodles over Hillary this go-round (or worse... throw a temper tantrum and vote for no one or a candidate whose math doesn't add up.)

For the sake of our country's future, we should have steak (I'm looking at you Elizabeth Warren), but if I can't afford that, I'll at least take the Chipotle steak bowl. 

And now I'm hungry. 

P.S. Sanders fanatics ruin my appetite. If you stand with Bernie on the issues, then you're with her too, whether you know it or not.