Seattle, Washington A Deaf Dog and a Dreamy Democrat

I generally don’t talk about my political views here anymore, for fear of alienating people who don’t agree with me. The dancing video is one of those things that is somehow monumentally non-divisive. No one is against it. The only people who are offended, to my knowledge, are the ones who are pissed I didn’t dance in front of their house.

It’s an odd situation for me to be in, cause I tend to be a fairly divisive person. I have opinions I feel strongly about and I enjoy a good debate. So I get emails from a lot of people who probably couldn’t stand being in a room with me, and yet they’ve somehow decided I should be Godfather to their children.

This used to be a place where I felt comfortable airing divisive opinions, and today I’m going to do that.

I don’t know how to pronounce Daily Kos, much less what it is, but I just read this letter on the site from Barack Obama and I was fairly moved.

First off: what fanciful work of never-in-a-million-years, liberal-wet-dream science-fiction did this guy leap out of? His father was a Kenyan goat herder, his mother is part Cherokee Indian, he was president of the Harvard Law Review, and he can use the term “facile equivalence” in a sentence.

Where do I sign?

It’s almost suspicious. You couldn’t make a guy like that up. I wouldn’t be surprised if, beneath those Oxford shirts, his heaving, multi-cultural man-chest is actually star-spangled.

But he doesn’t just look good on paper. The guy actually WRITES good on paper too.


“Fighting on behalf of the poor and the vulnerable is not the same as fighting for homophobia and Halliburton. But to the degree that we brook no dissent within the Democratic Party, and demand fealty to the one, ‘true’ progressive vision for the country, we risk the very thoughtfulness and openness to new ideas that are required to move this country forward. When we lash out at those who share our fundamental values because they have not met the criteria of every single item on our progressive ‘checklist,’ then we are essentially preventing them from thinking in new ways about problems.”

It gets better:

"Whenever we exaggerate or demonize, or oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose. A polarized electorate that is turned off of politics, and easily dismisses both parties because of the nasty, dishonest tone of the debate, works perfectly well for those who seek to chip away at the very idea of government."

Can I get a witness!:

“The most powerful voices of change in the country, from Lincoln to King, have been those who can speak with the utmost conviction about the great issues of the day without ever belittling those who opposed them.”

God dammit, that’s some smart talking. And I couldn’t agree more. Granted, there’s nothing in those quotes of the “great issues” he’s referring to and what his convictions are, but he does touch on them elsewhere in the letter and he has been fairly transparent with his views.

But to get back to his point: It’s not a battle against Conservatism. It’s a battle against ignorance and stupidity – and I’m not suggesting they’re one in the same. The way we lose is by using the same tactics. The Democrats have got to leave Tom DeLay alone and not try to score points at his expense. You don’t win by dismantling your opponent. That behavior is precisely what sickens people about politics and makes them switch off – like I have for the most part and like any sane, non-masochistic person is inclined to do in an election year.

Enough with the character assassination. Let’s get back to some good old idea assassination.

For a long time I’ve felt like politics has descended into a quagmire that it’s impossible to get out of. And I know I’m not alone on that. But historically, I think it’s seemed that way before, and what gets us out of it, to continue the trite metaphor, is people who rise above. We need an articulate, intelligent, inspiring figure. I personally don’t care if it’s a womanizer, inveterate gambler, lesbian dominatrix, or recidivist panty-sniffer. I would not, however, be able to tolerate a noisy eater, mouth-breather, close-talker, or ice-chewer.

Anyway, I’m sold on Obama. I think we should just go ahead, repeal the Twenty-Second Amendment, and make him President For Life. And let’s hurry up about it, cause this is the kind of guy who tends to get assassinated before he can do anything really useful.

Plus he’s, like, totally gorgeous.


…in case you’ve never seen him before, guess which one he isn’t.

My mom’s dog is an 11-year-old Collie named Hattie. She’s the one on the right in the dancing video. Collies generally don’t live very long, so she’s near the end. She had to ride cross-country earlier this year when my mom moved here from Connecticut, and she lost her hearing in the process. She’s been deaf for about six months and is clearly miserable about it.

…I should stop now and point out that this story has a happy ending…

Whenever I go to visit, Hattie comes running over and makes it very clear she wants her ears rubbed. I’m the only person who ever does it, and she practically collapses on the floor in ecstasy. I recently noticed there’s a squishy sound inside her ears when I shift them around. I suggested to my mom that she take Hattie to the vet and find out if there’s any kind of blockage in there.

Turns out there is. She has an infection. The vet had just assumed it was old age and didn’t check it out. There was loads of crap in there, and today it all got taken out. My theory is the reason she wanted her ears rubbed so much is because it opened the canals a little bit and depressurized her sinuses.

Hattie is on medication now, and the expectation is she’ll be able to hear her name called again soon. For whatever time she’s got left, she will hopefully be a fully functioning dog.

So the moral to that story is that I’m pretty much the greatest person ever.