“What kind of salad dressing does everyone want?” Asks James as the salad bowl makes its rounds around the table.
You and a group of your friends have gathered for a weekend dinner. A smorgasbord of food packs the middle of the large rectangular table, from brisket and mashed potatoes, to brussels sprouts and bottles of wine. The aroma of garlic, onion, herbs and spices fills your nose. Put simply, this dinner is about to be legit.
“Do you have Hidden Valley ranch?” Responds Melissa inquisitively.
“Yeah, would you like it?”
“Ew, no way!” Melissa shoots back with a disgusted look on her face.
“Okay, what would you like instead? I have balsamic, caesar, raspberry vinaigrette, or sesame ginger.”
“Not Hidden Valley ranch!”
“Yeah, I got that. But what other dressing do you want?” His arm tiring, he sets the bowl down on the table.
“How can you even have Hidden Valley ranch? I thought my friends were better than that.”
Not sure if Melissa is being serious, James smiles to test the waters. Melissa’s face remains firmly entrenched in a scowl.
“I… I mean, I don’t use it that often. Mostly for dinners like this when I have guests over.”
“Who in the world likes that stuff??”
Sara raises her hand from the other side of the table, “I like it.”
“Well you’re an idiot for liking it and you’re an idiot for even having it.” Melissa rises to her feet. “Do you know how many GMOs are in there?? You’re basically killing yourselves, and when you do, I’m not coming to your funerals!”
“This balsamic vinaigrette is homemade and organic. Take your pick.”
“You’re so naive – all of you! What if someone who works for Hidden Valley ranch infiltrated your house and contaminated your dressing? It happened with e.coli at Chipotle, and it’s going to happen again with you!”
With that, Melissa spikes her cloth napkin onto the table and storms out of the room leaving everyone dumbfounded.
“Could somebody pass the ranch?”
When someone asks you if you want to go bowling or to the zoo, you don’t rip on going bowling if you don’t like bowling. You simply say, “Let’s go to the zoo,” because you like more things about the zoo, and, out of the two choices, that’s the one you prefer. By making this choice, you just made progress. Good job!
Which brings us to this presidential election, which has been incredibly amusing because I’ve noticed the “Not Hidden Valley Ranch” mindset over and over. Understandably, we all have candidates that we don’t like, but if all we focus on is not wanting that candidate to be president, it takes the focus away from what we do want instead. At a recent Donald Trump rally in Wisconsin, protests formed outside of the venue, mostly of people hating on Donald Trump’s hateful message. If you hate Donald Trump because he’s a hater, all you’re doing is drawing focus onto the hate, generating more hate, and making the situation more hatey. Case in point: one of these protesters was pepper sprayed by a Trump supporter, and, unless you’re part of a really weird family, you don’t pepper spray people you like. At the same rally, a man went around offering free hugs with the message “Make America love again.” Although Trump’s supporters weren’t feeling very huggy, this is a much more powerful message than one that is anti-Trump.
Love is the opposite of hate, and if we don’t want hate, let’s stop focusing on being anti-hate, and focus more on being pro-love.
Homemade balsamic vinaigrette is the opposite of Hidden Valley Ranch, and if we don’t want Hidden Valley Ranch, let’s stop focusing on being anti-Hidden Valley Ranch, and focus on being more pro-homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
The more we focus on the negatives of the presidential candidates we don’t want, the less we focus on the positives of our own.
If you don’t like Trump, stop focusing on what you don’t like about him and focus on what you do like about your candidate.
If you don’t like Hillary, stop focusing on what you don’t like about her and focus on what you do like about your candidate.
If you don’t like Cruz, stop focusing on what you don’t like about him and focus on what you do like about your candidate.
If you don’t like Bernie, stop focusing on what you don’t like about him and focus on what you do like about your candidate.
If you don’t like Kasich, stop focusing on what you don’t like about him and focus on what you do like about your candidate.
If you don’t like Hidden Valley ranch, stop focusing on what you don’t like about it and eat another salad dressing. If not, you’re just holding up dinner for everyone else.