Gromotka: Write in a toaster oven for U.S. Senate


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At this point, further discussing the poor track records, shortcomings, rhetorical flops, bad attendance, and general sloppiness of Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst and Rep. Bruce Braley, D.-Iowa, as they battle for the spot on the U.S. Senate would be like beating a dead horse with a fistful of spaghetti: useless and messy. Instead, I’m going to explain how a toaster oven that I purchased at Walmart for $14.99 in 2009 has been nothing short of honest, reliable, hard-working, and useful to my family over these last five years.

Most surprising about the toaster oven is that it made itself available in a very unassuming manner. It didn’t spend millions of dollars to show itself off on TV and make false promises. It didn’t lie about who it was, or allow political committees to speak poorly of other toaster ovens. Standing in the store, my decision to purchase it was an easy one. I knew exactly what I was getting. It didn’t deceive me.

What it did do was work for me. I could set both the temperature and the cooking time. Pizza bites were always cooked crunchy and warm. Toast was always perfectly golden brown. And the super-snack-food momma of them all, mozzarella sticks, were always heated to a crispy, bubbly, heavenly state that would put Applebee’s out of business.

But it wasn’t always easy street during my toaster oven’s three years in office in our kitchen. Once, about two years into its term, tragedy struck, and a heating element came loose from the top wall inside the cavity. I was mildly disappointed. The toaster oven didn’t make an enormous salary for doing nothing, so it wasn’t the end of the world. Still, rather than bicker and rhetorically claw its way out of the situation, the appliance allowed itself to be fixed, and has continued to work since. 

Today it enjoys an active retirement in my dad’s workshop, occasionally warming resins and epoxies for projects and collecting dust. It does so without a large pension from the federal government and off-shore nest-egg money collected from large, lobbying corporations.

Speaking of corporations paying politicians to vote in their interests, I’m sure my toaster oven would stand against the idea. If it was offered millions of dollars to help pass harmful laws and ignore the American people, my toaster oven wouldn’t accept, because it’s not corrupt. It’s not crooked. It’s a toaster oven.

I feel that toaster ovens, and other kitchen appliances available for $19.99 or less, have been grossly underrated in their ability to serve the general public. In fact, it’s astounding that in this day and age, our robophobic, fleshist mindsets are so capable of keeping small, non-essential cooking devices out of office. It’s sickening, really.

This midterm election day, Nov. 4, I encourage all readers to write in “a toaster oven,” or any other useful kitchen appliance, to fill Sen. Tom Harkin’s spot after he leaves. It makes as much sense, if not more, than our other options.

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