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Cats are Liberals, Dogs are Conservatives

In this season of political posturing and gamesmanship, of mudslinging and misdirecting, it’s hard not to get disillusioned. Romney said this, Obama did that, he’s a liar, he’s a jerk, he eats children, blah blah blah. It’s enough to make you want to change the channel.

It’s gotten so I see politics in everything now. From movies to television shows to reality television, I’m suspicious of hidden political agendas. As in “Survivor” has a conservative Darwinist agenda in which the strong are betrayed by the weak, but the strongest end up winning. As in The Lorax is an ultra-liberal anti-business pro-ecology diatribe aimed at our children.

I see it in our pets too. Dogs are actually conservative in their behavior; cats are liberals. Think about it. Dogs like the status quo. They get upset by change and if you make changes, they’re likely to pee on the carpet. Dogs are possessive. Give them a bone and they’ll go bury it. Give them enough bones and you’ll have a yard full of ’em.

Cats, on the other hand, do their own thing and don’t like to be told what to do. They roll with change; they encourage it. The like keeping you on your toes. Cats do nothing to earn their meals; they just expect someone is going to pay for it, but certainly not them. A cat may occasionally rub against you and purr like they adore you, but it’s an act. They don’t think you’re capable of taking care of them properly so they have to tell you how to do it.

Dogs need to be on a leash to get around. Cats run wherever they bloody well please. Dogs will crap anywhere but where they sleep. Cats need their own special place to crap – paid for at your expense. Dogs are loyal to their masters, even if they abuse them. Cats, well, they’re loyal to whoever feeds them.

Dogs like to earn their keep by watching out for burglars and illegal immigrants, at whom they’ll bark at until they’re hoarse. In fact, dogs are for building an 80 foot high electrified fence around the house with machine guard turrets with armed dogs manning them. Cats prefer a pampered existence in which nothing is required of them and they can get on the computer and watch videos of other cats, and occasionally play video slots.

Dogs believe in the sanctity of family and are welcoming to all guests; by way of welcoming you they’ll hump your leg. Cats are barely aware that you’ve taken a month’s vacation; as long as the water bowl was full and the food kept on coming they don’t care whether you come or go. Dogs believe in worship – after all, dog is god spelled backwards. Cats don’t believe in anything. Cat spelled backwards is tac and they think they got a raw deal because of it.

Dogs will eat anything, the worse for them it is the better. As a matter of fact, they prefer their chow to be manufactured in a third world country – it’s less expensive and tastier that way. Cats only eat homegrown organic cat food that has been prepared by migrant workers who are paid at a reasonable rate. Why shouldn’t they? You’re the one paying for it mister.

Dogs will yap all day and say absolutely nothing, kind of like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly. Cats will say nothing all day and leave you wondering if they’re as wise as they make themselves out to be, like Barack Obama.

Dogs like sex but only for procreation. Cats watch kitty porn on the Internet and masturbate while you’re not looking. Dogs prefer order and structure but little interference from the powers-that-be. Cats want the powers-that-be to provide them with an expensive kitty playground that they’ll sleep on once and never use again.

Dogs will lick your face with the same mouth they just ate their own poop with. You’ll have to chase down your cat and tackle it in order to get any sort of affection. A dog believes in traditional values. Cats think we should think for ourselves and develop our own values.

Dogs are territorial and will attack anyone who violates their borders. Cats are neutral and will glare at anyone who comes to rob the house but will do nothing about it. Dogs are like elderly people who make up so much of the conservative electorate; they sleep all the freaking time. Cats are like young people who make up so much of the liberal electorate; they go out until the wee hours of the morning and then they won’t tell you where they’ve been.

Dogs are into security; cats are into freedom. Dogs believe in fair trade (“go in the kennel for a Milk Bone? Sounds fair to me…”) while cats believe in shared wealth – as long as all the wealth belongs to them. Dogs like looking out at the world – from the safety of their living room. Cats prefer to go out and explore themselves, and might just defect to that excellent Brownstone on Elm Street if they feed him better.

Dogs believe in the American dream; cats are atheists. Sarah Palin is a dog – well, she’s a bitch. Bill Maher is a cat; doesn’t his hair look like someone licked it into place? A dog will walk into the room, yawn, stretch and then forget why he went in there in the first place. A cat will kill Osama bin Laden and then drag his carcass to the glass door in the back of the house so you can see his handiwork. Dogs are pro-business; cats are pro-regulation. Dogs do their duty; cats want to form a committee to discuss the nature of what their duty is before they’ll consider it.

So forget your elephants and donkeys; those are outdated symbols anyway. Cats and dogs are much more relatable to the general public anyway. I don’t know what it says about me that I’m a liberal who loves dogs but I suppose that means I can see the conservative point of view. Some of these examples might stretch credibility just a bit but one thing is certain; cats and dogs are more likely to work together to make things better for those around them than conservatives and liberals are these days.

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Common Threads

We are more like than unalike. We have so much in common that we actually take it for granted. We dwell instead on cultural differences, lifestyle differences, gender differences. We spend more time looking for the things that divide us than we do celebrating the things that unite us.

I suppose that’s only human. We have a need to feel unique and we look for ways that emphasize our uniqueness. Unfortunately, we tend to do that the lazy way – by asserting that those who are different than us are inferior, making us feel better about ourselves and our many faults.

Being unique doesn’t make us better. It just makes us ourselves. We’re not perfect – but we don’t have to be. Honestly, it’s okay to be flawed. You’re overweight? That’s okay – just try to eat better and exercise more. You’re a terrible housekeeper? No problem – hire somebody or just do the best you can. No time management skills? You can always take a class or find methods on the internet to help you organize your time better.

But even if you don’t ever correct your flaws that doesn’t make you a bad or even a weak person. It just makes you a human. And that’s one thing we all have in common – our humanity, both good and bad. We have a tremendous capacity to do horrible things to one another – and an equally tremendous capacity to transcend those base instincts and do the right thing, or even better.

The genocide in Rwanda is one such example. On the one hand, horrible atrocities were committed and thousands upon thousands of lives were brutally lost. On the other hand, the Rwandans are now trying to unite, reconcile and forgive one another. They are looking to live as one people rather than two artificially constructed tribes. They share a common language and a common heritage. More importantly, they share their basic human values – they love their families, hope for a better future and want to be loved.

We all share those values, even those we despise. The 1% share those things. Racists share those things. Homophobes share those things. Now, there are always exceptions; certain sociopaths lack the ability to love, the desire to be loved and have instead a desire to inflict pain. Those are not the rule, however and they are pretty rare.

Our humanity stretches across cultural lines. We all value our children and take great steps to protect them. That’s true in the most primitive circumstances as well as the most sophisticated urban environments. It doesn’t matter your skin tone or which plumbing you have, nor which religion you observe (if any) or what political party you belong to. Push comes to shove, nearly every human being alive will do about anything to protect their children, even lay down their lives if need be.

So why is it when we have so much in common that we spend so much time trying to tear each other apart? Not just in this country but everywhere? Why can Arabs and Jews find any common ground? Why not gays and straights? Baptists and Atheists? Why must we find reasons to ridicule, to fear, to hate? Why is accepting the differences of others so bloody hard?

Because we have it in our minds that accepting the differences of someone else makes us somehow less important, less special. That’s a mistaken concept however; accepting those differences makes us more special. It gives us more importance in the cosmic scheme of things. It brings us closer to perfection. If someone is a black lesbian Atheist pro-Choice from Senegal, I believe that in the heart of the creator I believe in they are no less loved than a pro-Life Baptist housewife from Texas. And vice versa. Those who disagree with me, are different than me, are even repugnant to me are still as human as me. As long as they do no harm, they deserve all the respect and dignity that I can afford them.

Delivering on that idea is often difficult and I’m no more adept at it than most of you. Sometimes, I gnash my teeth when I hear Sarah Palin talk about the need for drilling, or the President of Iran shouting about how America is Satanic. There are times I find it hard to hold to my heart those who discriminate against women, gays, African-Americans or Jews.

But if God loves these people no less, doesn’t following that example please Him? There are lots of people who say “Love the sinner, hate the sin” and while we might quibble whether homosexuality is a sin or not, the sentiment is at least understandable although it’s very difficult for me to hate the sin. Loving the person while not condoning their actions is easier for me to wrap my head and heart around and that’s where I tend to be more successful.

I may consider Rush Limbaugh to be a lot of things and I disagree with his politics and most of his opinions whole-heartedly but I don’t hate the man and I certainly don’t think he shouldn’t have the right to air his opinions. After all, you have the right to change the channel if you don’t like what he has to say and sooner or later if enough people do that he will have to find other means to communicate his message. I also consider Bill Maher to be a lot of things and I agree with his politics and most of his opinions whole-heartedly, but on a human level I give Rush Limbaugh the same consideration and respect I give Bill Maher, even if I think Maher is smarter and his politics more closely align with mine. That’s because at the end of the day Bill Maher is no better and no worse than Rush Limbaugh, the same as George W. Bush is no better and no worse than Barack Obama or my Uncle Jerry is no better and no worse than my Uncle Alex.

We are all made up of the same chemical components, the same physiological structure. We all travel through time in a linear fashion, from the beginning of lives to their ends and we all hope and dream of something better or at least different. We all reach out in some way for the things we need, be they other people or solitude. We all walk the Earth – some in wheelchairs, some in scooters but we all travel this land in some fashion. We all laugh, cry, despair and hope. We all have the capacity for love and for forgiveness as well as for hate and for vengeance. We all have the ability to choose the right thing, although we don’t always do it.

We all are one species, given one lifetime to figure things out. How much better would this world be if one of the things we figured out was just that? What could we accomplish as a people if we spent more time helping each other instead of finding reasons to hate? There is a dream worth aspiring to, one voiced by many of our most revered and beloved people, from Martin Luther King to Gandhi to Christ. A dream where we live together not in suspicion, fear and hatred but in acceptance, love and tolerance. Rodney King may not be the kind of thinker those men are but he may have put it the most articulately; can’t we all just get along? Well, can’t we?