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The United States faces many polarizing issues. Our nation is more divided than since the Civil War. Left, Right, Progressive, Conservative, Trump-ettes and Never-Trumpers; these factions provoke and agitate without end. But now it's October and an even more divisive problem rears its ugly head. This issue sparks vicious arguments, kills friendships and splits up families. Of course, I refer to the dreaded Candy Corn Debate.

I know Halloween is problematic for some. Personally, I see it as harmless fun. As a child, I dressed in many a costume, went trick-or-treating and attended spooky parties. None of that steered me towards demonism or satanic worship. Children ignore all that and focus on their main goal: Obtaining as much candy as possible.

For years, the staple sweetness of Halloween has been candy corn; that tri-colored, creamy sweet confection arguably more addictive than cocaine. Even as I write, I am tossing kernels of the candy into my mouth at regular intervals. I do care about nutrition, which is a mainstay of my livelihood, but I tend to rationalize my behavior. My wife must watch her blood sugar, so I am compelled to protect her. Eating her share is my duty.

Candy corn is an iconic American tradition. It was invented in the 1880s by George Renninger for the Wunderlee Candy Company in Philadelphia. Goelitz Candy Company, now known as Jelly Belly Candy Company, marketed the confection to the masses at the beginning of the 20th century. It really only sells in the United States. Attempts to market it internationally have not gone well, most likely due to their lack of history with the candy. Candy corn was relatable to the farmers of the 1880s. It was a familiar reminder of corn harvesting. Logically, then, haters of candy corn must hate America.

An astounding 35 million pounds of candy corn are produced each year. I most likely consume about a third of that amount. I find it hard to believe that candy corn haters exist, but they do, just as some people hate freedom. Some maintain that candy corn lovers should be investigated by the Ukrainians. Some say candy corn tastes like wax. What is their point? Honeybees make wax along with honey, which also happens to be part of the candy corn formula. Bees are smarter than the candy corn nay-sayers. Others say it is too sweet which is just ignorant because there is really no such thing as "too sweet." Some believe it to be marketed with false advertising as there are three distinct colors to the corn (white, orange, and yellow) but not three flavors. I disagree. My mode of eating candy corn is to bite off each section in sequence. I swear each section tastes different!

Candy corn haters most likely consumed too much candy during a post-Halloween confection binge and threw up. The resulting psychological toll re-wired their brains to associate the trauma with candy corn. I am sure there must be groups who can convert these pitiful souls back to normal lovers of America's precious commodity.

Set a jar of candy corn on your desk at work. Watch who comes and imbibes from your generous bounty. Those who do are people you can count on. Those who walk by and glare at you are not your friends. Note their names and faces, they are not to be trusted. Pitied, yes, but not trusted.

Candy corn. The great American discerner of true patriots.

-- Devin Houston is the president/CEO of Houston Enzymes. Send comments or questions to devin.houston@gmail.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 10/30/2019

Print Headline: The real debate

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