Dogs and Cats

May 2005


There are dog people and there are cat people. I can understand that. What I fail to understand are people who treat pets better than people.

I am admittedly a dog person. I like dogs and they generally like me. We have a natural understanding and respect for each other. Dogs are not people. In some ways they're better than people: I'd wager that most dogs are more honest than most people, for example. They rely on us and good people hate to let them down. Most folks think that maltreating a dog is almost as bad as mistreating a child, and for many of the same reasons. Dogs and children assume we'll do our best by them: we occupy a position of trust, which most folks like to deserve.

I know plenty of people who can clearly see the idiocy of employing "tough love" on a dog, but figure that it ought to work on people. If you had an old dog, who was getting a bit stiff, you'd help him into the pickup bed, wouldn't you? It is true that the more you help the dog out like this, the less they will be able to do for themselves (or want to do without help), but it hurts their poor old tired bones to leap up there like they used to. There are lots of old people in this country who have to make the choice between food and medicine. This is often not their fault, or even if it was their fault, there's nothing they can do to make up for their prior mistakes now. Do these people deserve to choose between pain and hunger?

Of course, in America, it is a crime to be poor. Children of poor parents do not deserve medical care, for example. The children have not done anything wrong, but their parents have failed to achieve the American dream, so they and their kids must pay the price.

We are raising a whole generation of children in this country without parents, because it has become normal for both parents to work full-time outside of the home (if they can). It is the only way most families can make ends meet. This is clearly the case as the average family slides further and further into debts they can never pay back. For many people, it is already as bad as it was at the end of the 19th century when people lived in company towns as virtual slaves of their employers.

This is not a thrifty, industrious working class. This is a frightened, punch-drunk under class, living from hand to mouth, just like the majority of people do in the third world. They often live in better houses and they have a lot more stuff, but in the things that matter, their lives are depressingly similar:

The trouble is that we've been sold a packet of lies about our economy and our government, and how they work. These lies all point to one end: to redistribute wealth to the already wealthy and increase the gap between rich and poor. Things cannot and will not improve for the average working person in this country as long as these lies are believed and people continue to work against their own self-interest by supporting the very people who profit from their distress.

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