My Dog’s Better than Yours
I have never attempted to discus politics, having been born with what little amount of common sense I possess, and having been wise enough to recognize that waxing on about my favorite candidate, or more likely, dissing on his opponent, is not going to accomplish anything other than stirring up the stuff. Folks just get so emotional about the whole thing.
As you may know, emotion is a slippery slope for me these days, because of my diagnosis of mood spectrum disorder. I try to keep the emotional roller coaster at bay, by avoiding topics likely to evoke passion or dissension. That being said, I want to try and navigate around the carnival that comprises the national political scene, possibly shedding a little light for my own self, as to exactly why people get so bent out of shape.
Beginning with political parties, I see them as big clubs, which are open for anyone to join-or not. Based on my own upbringing, Papa was a Democrat, because he was a working man, who spent his life laboring with his hands, eschewing formal education, even though he was a very intelligent man. His nine kids all have college degrees because it was always expected that they would. He presented the perfect application of the “Do as I say-not as I do” motif.
Mama never declared anything openly, but her father was a Republican, being a businessman, and adhering to the less is best philosophy, when it came to government intervention in business affairs. Consequently, a healthy dichotomy existed, with my father being open and jovial about the whole process, and my mother simply allowing him to enjoy his light-hearted banter, without getting drawn into any debates. She only smiled knowingly, when Papa named the new sow he had acquired, Mamie, after President Eisenhower’s wife, way back in the fifties. It was all the same to me.
I have always worked paycheck-to-paycheck; Annie and I have always been satisfied with that. Money has never held any attraction to me, and I have never had to contend with the challenges of the business world. I am, therefore, a registered Democrat. I see the Democratic Party as representing the common man, the regular old Joes of the country, who work in the service industry and produce the goods and homes, that any nation requires to continue to grow and flourish. That does not make me a bad guy.
I perceive the Republican party as being a collection of people who see big government as meddling and demanding. I comprehend that sense of indignation, that some politician in Washington DC, should have so much influence over a small businessperson, say, here in California. So I understand why the Republican Party would be the natural result of this desire to avoid government interference in business. This is a very simplistic view of the Republican Party. Feel free to insert your own respective definitions as to what constitutes the two parties.
So far, all is good: in my universe, we have two sides, made up of like-minded folks, and both sides have admirable reasons for existing. Where it all goes wrong is when the human element gets involved. As long as it is principles we are talking about, everyone stays mellow. Introduce a specific personality into the process, and then present an alternative, and it riles folks up.
I remember the television commercials that pursued the theme, “My dog’s better than your dog,” in pushing a popular dog food brand. I see the political process as being no more or less than this basic concept: My guy is better than yours. The only difficulty is, that in modern politics, that translates to, “Your guy is worse than my guy.”
Republicans are indignant that the sitting President wants to assure that all people have health care; Democrats are affronted that the opposing candidate has so much money, he can’t even find adequate banking within the confines of his own country, but must employ the services of banks overseas.
There are one or two other things that might be lumped into the mix, but to start mentioning those specific items, is to raise the hackles of everyone still reading this piece. And that’s the central point: as long as we keep it general and focused on issues, everything is good. As soon as we start tossing in the human factor, people get perturbed.
What’s the alternative? Your computer versus ours? Is it good that the big issues are so well-defined, or would it be better to be comparing candidates based on looks, or personality, or degree of intellectual capability, or sexual appeal, or any other measurement device? These have all been used in the past.
I sure do not have the answer, but I do have a suggestion. Can we all just let everyone root for his guy, and not make it personal? Can I wonder to myself, how it is that Whosie could possibly like the candidate he does, without thinking bad of Whosie?
Can others listen to me prattle on about my guy, without thinking to themselves, “This guy is so full of blarney, his eyes are brown”? That is the big question. Like the dog food commercial, each of us is going to think that “my dog is better than yours.” Isn’t that OK? People have to be able to think what they want, without others getting their collective panties in a bunch. Otherwise, why have two political parties? Oh, yeah. I forgot, we have lots of choices: a monarchy, a dictatorship, communism, anarchy...did I leave any out?
When the day after the election arrives, and we have a new President, we are still going to have to hit the shower, and trudge off to work, with next Sunday’s football game newly replacing politics on the front burner. After all, in this area, if you start dissing on the Raiders, you better have good health insurance. People just seem to take these things so seriously.
May the candidate who antagonizes the fewest voters, be the next President of the United States. Besides, ultimately, if I get stuck, and can’t decide, I am just going to vote for Buster Posey. Can’t go wrong with Buster, and no one will yell at me, except for maybe Dodger fans, and everyone knows that they don’t count.
Shoot. Did I just write that? I am such a slow learner.