Every year, before Thanksgiving, a day in which traditionally Americans carve up and consume a lot of turkey, the president of the United States of America instead pardons one.
This has been going on for more than 20 years, according to the White House's website: "Each Thanksgiving, the President 'pardons' a hand-selected turkey, sparing the bird from someone’s dinner table and ensuring the rest of its days are spent roaming on a farm, doing whatever it is turkeys love to do."
The White House said that presidential mercy has a long, if inconsistent, tradition: President Lincoln reportedly spared a turkey at his son's insistence, as did President Kennedy. It was President Nixon, or thereabout, who started sending the birds back after officially receiving them. But it was President George H.W. Bush, in 1989, who made the pardoning an official event – and it has continued ever since.
Obama's previous pardons include Courage and Apple. This year, the choice comes down to either Caramel or Popcorn. Because this is America, Americans can vote on which bird is pardoned. Caramel has a "steady and deliberate" walk and likes Lady Gaga. His gobble is "quick, clear and frequent." Popcorn walks with a "proud strut" and prefers Beyonce. He gobbles with "longer notes."
The official pardon is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 27. The election is rigged, however: both of the top birds are eventually spared.