LOS ANGELES, JULY 4, 2013—OnIndependence Day 2013 Joey Chestnut matters more than ever. As America celebrates the 237th year of the greatest political miracle in world history, a ritual taking place in New York will carry on added significance.
Lady Liberty is the most noticed symbol, and normally Manhattan gets her attention. Yet on July 4th, all eyes turn to the most beautiful underrated city in the world. Brooklyn has a proud vibrant spirit, and Coney Island is an institution. At Noon EST, the 2013 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest will commence.
Nothing is more American on July 4th than a hot dog. Liberals and conservatives put politics aside to debate the merits of mustard and relish on a boiled dog against a grilled one with ketchup and onions.
From 2001 through 2006, a Japanese man named Kobayashi dominated the contest and took home the coveted yellow belt. Then in 2007, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut came along, shattered records, and won six in a row himself. Chestnut is the legally sanctioned number one competitive eater in the world, and the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is the Super Bowl of competitive eating. Competitive eaters are athletes, and they compete honestly without performance enhancing drugs.
With a world on fire and a troubled economy, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest may seem trivial. Yet the 2013 version matters. Only nine months ago, Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast. While the Jersey Shore and Staten Island received the worst of it, Brooklyn was hit very hard. Getting back to normal is all people wanted.
Americans are tough, and they do not come tougher than New Yorkers. As for New Yorkers, they do not come tougher than Brooklyn. Yet even this proud corner of the world was thought to be closed for business. Outsiders gave up. The outsiders underestimated the character, heart and guts of Brooklyn. The Boardwalk is open. The Cyclone roller coaster is ready to go, as are the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league baseball team. The Orange Julius machines are cranked up and Stillwell Avenue is ready for rabid fans. Between the D, F, and Q trains, one of them will get the job done.
The trains were down for repair, but they do come back stronger. So does Brooklyn. So does America.
So on this Independence Day, there are two things every American should do. Wave a tip of the cap to the people of Egypt, who may be on the verge of creating their own miracle. Then grab a hot dog or two and root for Joey Chestnut to down 50 or 60 of them. Brooklyn is back, and America will come back. Whether the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest or the American people, every link matters.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.