Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rabid dogs and their owners

A couple years ago, I was walking in my neighborhood and a dog ran out of my neighbor’s yard and bit me. I still have the scar on my left leg. To get away from the dog, I scurried up on top of a car. Meanwhile the dog continued to dart about, barking excitedly, for five or ten minutes while the hapless owners tried to get him under control. I learned later that the dog’s name was “Cyclone.” How appropriate.

I went to the emergency room for treatment, where I was joined in the waiting room by the dog’s owners. I learned that their dog had not been vaccinated for rabies. In that awkward moment, I experienced one clear thought: I did not want to be mean to the irresponsible dog owners, but I also did not want to be nice to them. I just wanted them to leave me alone.

I feel that way about Republicans. They have made a hash out of things, including some things I hold dear. I don’t want to sit next to them in a diner (or a bar or a church) and make nice with them. But I also don’t want to be mean to them. Life’s too short. I would, however, like to be left alone.

I’d like to be able to listen to the radio without hearing a decent man being linked to so-called ‘terrorists’. I’d like to be able to watch the evening news without being slapped in the face by racist and xenophobic rhetoric. I’d like to hear the ideas of Republicans without seeing their candidate cringe at the product of his own party’s fear-mongering. In this election, Republicans have built up a scary and unpleasant world for themselves, and I want no part of it.

Leave me alone.

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