D.L. STEWART: America protests the loss of its sauce

Children cried. Cops were dispatched to hold back angry crowds. Lawsuits we’re threatened. Boycotts were called for. America was in turmoil once again.

And who could blame it? Because this has become a country without Szechuan sauce.

Well, not exactly. There probably still is enough Szechuan sauce on the shelves of America’s supermarkets to fill a wok the size of Idaho. But it’s not McDonald’s Szechuan sauce. And that’s the issue, which came to a head after the fast-food empire announced it was making limited packets of its faux Chinese condiment available last Saturday.

Even though it hasn’t been on the McDonald’s menu for 19 years, the sauce has achieved cult status. In April, two packets of the sauce that a man said he found in an old car reportedly sold for $14,700 on eBay. Its appeal was revived by a recent reference to it on the television show “Rick and Morty,” which runs on Adult Swim and apparently is favored by viewers who enjoy hearing cartoon characters saying dirty words.

So when McDonald’s announced its one-day promotion, Americans flocked to the golden arches. Whether they planned to squirt the sauce on their french fries or merely stash it in old cars for future sales on eBay is unclear.

In Wellington, Fla., it was reported that a crowd in excess of 1,000 had camped out for hours to get the sauce and police had to be called to keep it from storming the yellow arches when it was discovered the limited supply had reached its limit.

Sign-waving crowds chanting “We want sauce,” were reported at other McDonald’s across the country. And, as America tends to do in times of national crises, it took to twitter.

“Anyone know how we can file a class action suit for false advertising?” one twit asked.

A mother tweeted that her sauce-deprived 9-year-old son was crying and threatened to never eat at McDonald’s again. Which, all nutritional things considered, would probably not be the worst decision the kid could ever make.

As a result of the kerfuffle, McDonald’s has apologized and promised to make the sauce available sometime in the future. So perhaps the furor will subside and the nation can once more turn its attention to other concerns, such as who’s kneeling at football games.

Still, it has to make you proud to live in a country where people have nothing more urgent to do than stand outside a burger joint and shout, “We want sauce.”

Although not all of America was upset, of course. Some people might even say the whole thing was silly. Especially people in Puerto Rico chanting “We want water.”