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Whatever your political palate, voting is a key part of a balanced diet

The Baltimore Sun

Now that we're about a month from the presidential election, most astute voters are doing some research. They're watching the debates; scouring newspapers, magazines and blogs for facts about the candidates' positions, talking with respected friends or colleagues and consulting their local humor columnist.

Actually, nix that last one.

No one really wants to know how I'm voting, or the reasons for my decision. Readers turn to this column to escape the barrage of anti-Obama, anti-McCain, anti-Biden and anti-Palin vitriol. And I will not disappoint.

But as an American, I will get involved in the political discussion to encourage you to do one thing - vote.

Furthermore, I will encourage you to encourage others to vote, which I hope will, in turn, encourage others to encourage still others to vote, and so on throughout the land.

My point is, vote.

Honestly, I just don't buy it when people say they're not going to vote because they "don't like either candidate."

This election is not about liking the candidates, people! Presidential candidates are like vegetables - we are not supposed to like them. They are on our collective plates because they are good for us.

These hardy, homegrown candidates are not without blemishes or bruises, to be sure. Yet they are an important part of a traditional balanced political diet in America. Together with our mashed potatoes of Congress and our Salisbury steak of the common people - and downed with a generous gulp of judicial fruit juice - our vegetable presidential candidates fortify us for the future.

You may be insulted by my metaphor of presidential candidate as vegetable on our plates. But I'm not the first journalist to bring vegetables into this campaign. A few months ago, there was some chatter linking Barack Obama to that elitist vegetable, arugula, because of an offhand comment he made to Iowa farmers. To be fair, it is quite possible that John McCain's swollen cheek resembles a turnip. Why, some political pundits might even go so far as to characterize the current presidential race as a contest between Mr. Radicchio and Mr. Potato Head.

Let's be honest: You would have to be somewhat tuberous to want to be president these days. Who, other than an unfeeling cauliflower head, would willingly expose his or her family and all aspects of their private lives to the withering 24/7 headlamps of the American media?

It wasn't always this way. It used to be a child's dream to grow up to be president. This just in from the Janet's World polls: 97.9 percent of kids today would rather grow up to be the Guitar Hero champion of the world.

But let us tuck in our napkin of purpose, pick up our fork of determination and dig back into the issue on our plates, which is the importance of voting. The amazing thing about our classic American political meal plan is that, at the end of the day on Nov. 4, we will all be sitting down at the table together. Sure, some of us will not be talking to others. But we will be sitting at the same table, nonetheless, as we have been for the past 232 years, and we will work it out.

Right now in the Janet's World family, we are having some spirited political discussions about the candidates. Sometimes our discussions are so spirited we cannot speak; we can only shout from different rooms. Often we have to call a timeout, and talk about something lighter, such as the evaporation of our retirement plans as a result of the truly historic state of the economy.

About the only thing we can agree on is that each of our candidates is expending a lot of energy sending out remarkably similar messages of change. And we sure could use a change around here.

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