My Dog is a Republican by David Margolis
I have spent most of my life in this dog eat dog world supporting liberal causes: aid to the disadvantaged, the right to universal health care and a healthy environment for all our citizens. Fortune has smiled on me and one might correctly presume that my financial status is greater than the majority of my fellow Americans, some call us the one percent. Nevertheless, I eagerly accept my social security check each month which I really don’t need, while looking for ways to cut my taxes, although if I was true to my progressive politics, I should actually desire to pay more. Be that as it may, I’m just an old retired left wing white guy, a member of a vanishing breed, so one can imagine my dismay as results from the midterm elections rolled in and my party suffered a bruising defeat. OK, not a big surprise there, yet not only was I obliged to endure the horrific pummeling that the Democrats received, but I suddenly realized that my poodle Bernie was a staunch conservative, and it was then I discovered that a dog could crow.
The election returns came in and the senate races in Arkansas, West Virginia and Kentucky quickly went into the GOP column. At the same time, Bernie began to bark happily and I thought that my wife must have taken one of his flavored mint bones out of the closet as a reward for brushing his teeth. This dog loves to have his teeth brushed and possibly has the cleanest teeth of any dog in any liberal home in America. I looked around and found my spouse in the bedroom room watching Love it or List It and there were no dog treats or doggie dental equipment in sight. Soon Senator Mitch McConnell came on the tube to deliver his acceptance speech. Bernie became delirious and tried to lick, you won’t believe this, the television set. And then I asked the pooch, “Don’t you know that Senator McConnell’s position on cutting taxes mostly benefit affluent people like myself who earn income from interest and dividends? Surely, if the wealthy paid a little more, the cut in the food stamp allowance could be restored, or money for research could be increased, or more teachers could be hired to work in the inner cities. Bernie stretched and gave me a weird look. All at once, I knew what he was thinking.
“Are you kidding me? Sure, I’m luxuriating here in my doggie bed by a warm fire and have just eaten my fill of the finest dog food which you purchased at the upscale canine supermarket, but remember, I guarded the house all day today. All right, I had four naps but they were short ones, and I would have wakened immediately had there been any intruders which there weren’t. Dave, you can’t pay more taxes so lazy people can continue in the welfare state. More free money only promotes lounging on their couches and watching TV when they should be out looking for a job. A little hunger in the belly would certainly stimulate a job search.” I was taken aback by his callousness but I soon forgot his musings as more dreadful news came in.
I poured myself a stiff bourbon on the rocks to quell my nerves. As I settled back in my chair, I watched Senator McConnell supporting clean energy; a statement diametrically opposed to his position in the Senate where he voted to bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases from coal mining. I emitted a mournful groan. The poodle jumped on me, vigorously wagging his tail and I let him outside to do his business which incidentally doesn’t employ anybody and has no payroll, but soon I comprehended that his excitement was a reaction to the words of the soon-to-be majority leader of the senate and was unrelated to his bowels or bladder. Still, I couldn’t conceive that my dog was in favor of polluting the atmosphere and contributing to climate change or what used to be called global warming. He stared into my face with those big brown eyes. “What climate change? I haven’t seen any difference in the weather between this year and last year or the year before or the year before that. Look at the temperature of our home, a steady 70 degrees. Everything is very comfortable in here, no evidence of any kind of warming or cooling for that matter, a uniform environment all year around. Why pay higher energy bills just to limit coal emissions? You might need that money to buy my expensive doggie bones. And what if the groomer raises the cost of my shampoo and hair cut? And what if you can’t afford to send me to doggie day camp? What then?”
The tabulations from North Carolina and Colorado added to my disheartenment. Those new blue states that MSNBC had told me about for all those months with the favorable demographics: the young people, the Asians, and the Hispanics. Not only were they not purple, they were flashing crimson! Yes Scarlet, I don’t give a damn. I’m going back to Charleston where I belong, but there’s a lot of red in South Carolina and West Virginia too. Just then I remembered to take out the garbage for the early morning pick up, a very important job for retired men, kind of gets that testosterone flowing, but when I re-entered the house, I received the shock of my elderly life and I exploded. “Oh my god. Oh my god. Iowa is in the Republican camp with the hog castrator Joni Ernst!” Bernie observed my ghastly countenance as I quickly drained the bourbon and looked in the pantry for more. He came up to me with that look of disgust that only man’s-best-friend can communicate to his master. “Why you two-faced son of a bitch,” forgetting for a moment that he was also a son of one himself. “You took my balls off when I was just a puppy, told me I was going to the vet for a checkup, and I came back without my testicles. Then you laughed that derisive laugh when I tried to engage the cocker spaniel next door and I heard your caustic remark that I was humping a bitch without bullets. And now you’re astounded that this woman cut off some porcine nuts on her farm? And guess what? She’s for the Keystone Pipeline. That’s exactly what this country requires, a large dollop of thick crude oil from Canada. Who cares if a couple of geese are put out and maybe a rabbit hole is bulldozed or a deer habitat is disturbed. We’ve got too many of those critters already. I’m barking at deer all day and they just keep multiplying, plus that pipe won’t be built anywhere near us so why should we be concerned? And come to think of it, why did you install those solar panels on our roof? You won’t get your money back for ten years. I was hoping for a new run in the back yard and my leash and doggie bowls need upgrading. That’s where you should be spending the money.”
The election outcome continued to disappoint and by this time I was on my third whiskey. I rummaged in the cupboard for the salted peanuts and stale Goldfish snacks. Forget the carrots and the broccoli and the hummus dip. When I returned, I noticed that Bernie was whimpering and he started to rub his muzzle against my lucky jogging suit that I wore when Jimmy Carter was elected. I looked at my expensive high definition television. Eight states had voted to increase the minimum wage! Finally, a humanistic idea had gained popularity with the populace, but at that moment, I understood Bernie’s despondence. He recalled all the work he’d done around this house for nothing: collecting the New York Times from the curb which taxed every muscle in his jaws (fortunately I now obtain this liberal publication on my smart phone), fetching my furry slippers when I came home from work (I did do that once upon a time), or nipping at the postman as I eagerly awaited my dividend checks (they are now deposited electronically along with my Social Security). Nowadays, all I receive in the mail are bills and solicitations for charities or mailers from stores like Victoria’s secret— the only secret that I have from Victoria are my Viagra pills. No, Bernie never received a minimum wage let alone any wage, and he was damned if he was going to sit or beg for some worker at McDonald’s to receive a higher salary. And so what if a Wal-Mart employee is on food stamps? Bernie worked for peanuts and he likes almonds too.
Finally in my abject misery, I fell asleep in my recliner intermittently dreaming of Obama’s 2008 campaign with the slogan of yes we can. At five am, Bernie’s enthusiastic woofing woke me up from my shut-eye. I initially assumed that he felt the urge for another visit to the backyard, but it wasn’t that, the Alaska results were coming in. The GOP candidate was beating the incumbent Democrat to complete the Republican’s landslide win, and I remembered Mitch’s words about removing Obamacare root and branch. Until then, I hadn’t appreciated that Obamacare was a sapling. Speaking of trees, I went outside with Bernie hoping that a satisfying lift of his leg would settle the poodle down, but his energetic utterances continued. I began to fear that the neighbors might be awakened at that early hour, not believing that any of them had stayed up to watch the voting returns from the forty-ninth state. I dragged the big overweight poodle into the house as he continued to slobber and yelp in my face. “Finally Obamacare will be gone. Did anyone ever subsidize my veterinary bills? No. We paid full freight and you know I earned it, watching for stray dogs and cats invading our gated community, as well keeping an eye out for the odd squirrel planning mischief on the tennis court. I’ve been particularly alarmed by those two robins persistently pooping on the umbrella near the pool. Sure, subsidize some lazy oaf so he can get help for his diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Hey bud, get off your ass, lose that weight, and find a job. So what if there’s no health insurance from your employer. He hired you didn’t he? And maybe there’s not quite enough money to eat three meals a day. Get another job in the evening. Sometimes I need to bark not only in the evening but late into the night. If your leg gets infected from the diabetes or you have a heart attack, go to the Emergency Room and wait there for three hours. If you don’t get fed up and go home then you’ll know you’re really sick. After you’re released from the hospital no doctor will treat you as an outpatient, but you can still set up a medical savings account if you have any money which of course you don’t. But even if you did have the cash, you wouldn’t be able to get insurance due to your preexisting conditions, remember Obamacare is gone, so go out and get a third job and perhaps you can pay off the debts from the hospital and that leaves you three hours a day to sleep, eat, and spend time with your family but you’re not a job creator.”
After he got all that off his chest, Bernie began to doze. It was time for his pre-breakfast nap. I got up from my chair and opened the closet where his dog food was kept. I put two scoops of the sweet potato and rainbow trout kibble into his dish, added some left over chunks of filet mignon that we had eaten the night before, and then filled the drinking bowl with eight ounces of Evian bottled water. I dejectedly headed to the bedroom to finish what was left of my night’s sleep and soon I was dreaming about another presidential race, this time 2016. Unfortunately it was a Republican victory and I soon died due to the lack of health benefits, but there was good news, I was reincarnated as a labradoodle yuppie puppy!