The campaign grows ever more bizarre. Today the segmented electorate and micro-targeting reached a new extreme. The latest exotic demographic is McCain voters who use no animal products, have no sense of humor, and listen to NPR. It started Saturday morning when Scott Simon of "Weekend Edition" asked me for a Republican's take on what DNC delegates should see and do. I recommended something broiled at the Buckhorn, especially for those vegetarians who don't get out much; something cold from New Belgium Brewery; a visit to the Mint where Obama's deficit dollars will be created; and a trip up one of our Fourteeners. Here's the audio.
No sooner had this hit the airwaves than the following angry email, unsigned, hit my inbox:
I am a McCain supporter. However, your comments on vegetarian tofu-eating liberals today on PBS were stupid and unnecessary. I am a proud vegan as is my wife, daughter, son, and their spouses. We are all for McCain. But your stupidity may make me rethink this. Maybe I am more liberal than I think I am, and maybe all my family members should ponder our positions.
Horrors! What if his is the one family in the one state whose votes, if indeed I've alienated them forever, will tip the electoral college to Obama-Biden? Must placate, must conciliate, must use conflict-resolution skills, not a moment to lose. So I quickly replied this way, under the subject line, "Soybean Curd Forever:"
Dear Friend: Can't you take a joke? I eat tofu myself sometimes. Did I insult vegans? That was not intended. My grandfather never ate meat in his life. He's one of my greatest heroes, and would have smiled, I'm sure, at the teasing about our Buckhorn Exchange steakhouse in Denver. Please tell me your name and where you're writing from. And consider that if Obama becomes President, many of the freedoms we both cherish -- including choosing what we eat -- will be in jeopardy. So don't let one guy's kidding on the radio run you off a sensible vote for McCain.
It was my best effort in haste, friendly and folksy yet firm, but as always the ideal rejoinder to a vegan came to me only later. I should have told him: "Don't have a non-cow, man." Anyway, no reply from the offended NPR listener as yet, so we may have lost him and all his herbivorous kin. Either this is a very dry put-on, or he's one peeved PETA member.
How will I live with myself if this costs Republicans the White House in November? My self-esteem is already down after realizing I misspoke on the air with Simon and spoke of driving up Pike's Peak or Long's Peak. Any flatland fool knows the summit auto road closest to Denver goes up Mount Evans, while Long's Peak is accessible only on foot.
First Bob Schaffer gets his mountains mixed up, now me. Hope it's not an omen. "Dark clouds gather; the pinnacle you will reach is not the one you imagined you would." Know any vegan astrologers I could consult about the horoscope for 11/4/08?