As you’ll notice, this issue is heavy on election-related articles.
We have a story in Business Intel about the pronounced reluctance of many operators to speak publicly about a divisive election whose consequences will be far-reaching. And we have a story in Marketing about Pizza Hut’s misstep in offering pizza for life to the bold individual who asked during one of the presidential debates between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney whether they preferred sausage or pepperoni pizza toppings.
The reason for the election focus is obvious: Just seven days after this issue’s publication date, on Nov. 6, registered voters nationwide will head to the polls where they will decide nothing less than the future of the United States. At stake is the U.S. presidency, many Senate and all House seats, and numerous and sometimes gut-wrenching ballot initiatives. The responsibility is awesome, and always makes me think of my dry cleaner.
I’ve frequented the same dry-cleaning establishment, run by a husband-and-wife team from South Korea, for more than 14 years. My stops have morphed into visits comprising longer conversations, and we’ve learned a bit about each other in the exchanges.
Few people are more familiar with my business travel schedule — read, when I wear suits — or my special occasions — read, when I wear dresses. We’ve watched each other’s children grow up, which means they’ve seen mine progress from car-seat bucket to taller than mom. And I’ve watched theirs go from elementary school to college and beyond.
And I’ve watched Mr. Kim become a U.S. citizen. Several years ago when he was studying for the test, he offhandedly told me that his children were too busy to quiz him. I told him I would. He never took me up on it, but he kept me abreast of his progress and joyfully told me about taking his oath of citizenship. The best moment, though, was the first time he voted in a presidential election. To say he was proud would be an understatement.
During a school assembly when I was in eighth grade, a speaker told us that voting is often like choosing between spinach ice cream and broccoli ice cream. You may not like the flavors, but it’s nonetheless important to cast your ballot, he said. That sentiment has never left me. Thinking of Mr. Kim’s delight in voting — a right he had to earn while many of us take it for granted — reinforces it.
In this issue’s Special Report we revisit our 2012Supershow. Along with coverage of the educational sessions and events celebrating this year’s award winners, you’ll find reference to a keynote speech by Jon Huntsman Jr., the former governor of Utah, former ambassador to China and former Republican candidate for president. During his talk, Hunstman encouraged the crowd to become more active in their communities and the political process.
“We ought to be prepared to sacrifice to make our communities a better place to live,” he said. “Get revved up about your participation in politics. I hope you vote, but I also hope you take personal interest in the well-being of your community and invest something in it in terms of time and effort.
“We’re at a turning point in American history — at a time when we need to be inspired and pull together, regardless of your point of origin or background,” he continued. “We’re at a time in history when the stakes are so high. I hope you walk out of this room with a heightened sense of the fragility of our system. It is based on participation by the people.”
Beginning on page 1 we look at what future Obama and Romney administrations might portend for the restaurant industry. For many it’s a choice between spinach and broccoli ice cream yet again. But while folks might not want to talk about it now, they need to get out and vote — otherwise they have no right to complain about it later.
PREVIOUSLY: Safety first