When we can hate an enemy, it unites us
My dog Robby is the sworn enemy of all squirrels. He hopes to kill one someday. If I were a betting man (which I am) I would put my money on the squirrels.Dogs are descendants of the wolf; they are hunters by nature. In the wild, wolves seek, stalk and kill their prey with a heartless determination. When the moment is right, alone or in a pack, they will strike with a brutal efficiency that stacks the odds in their favor. Robby doesn’t do any of that stuff. If my dog lived in the wild he’d be very thin. His idea of hunting is to stand under a tree, stare at a squirrel and bark. This is fresh in my mind because we just returned from a hike. Actually, it was an apology hike. I felt I owed him a good time because this morning I gave him a bad haircut. With the price of pet grooming going up, my mate and I decided to buy our own dog-hair clippers. Our rationale was we could save currency and time, and it wasn’t our hair. Unfortunately, when you are dealing with anything with a motor, things happen quickly. It only took a few minutes for me to turn our cute cur into a badly shaved monkey.I picked a remote trail to take our hike so as to avoid the inevitable question of whether my dog was undergoing chemotherapy. Robby was depressed and sulking during the first mile. I could only assume that, before we left the house, he must have passed by a mirror.
Any thought of vanity flew by the wayside when Bob saw his first squirrel. Actually, I saw it first. The rodent had definitely beefed up early for winter.It was sitting in the sun close to the trail enjoying a dandelion, and it didn’t seem too concerned about the approach of a human or a descendant of the mighty wolf. So complacent was he, that if I had a mind to, I might have been able to catch him myself.Robby, being fast and low to the ground, should have been able to catch, subdue and snap its little neck in a matter of seconds. Instead my dog stopped, growled and waited for his enemy to flee before he gave chase.The squirrel moved well for a full-figured rodent. It waddled away at high speed and climbed the nearest tree. Once safely up in the branches it began to eat again. Robby sprinted to the bottom of the pine and began barking like a crazy dog. I am not fluent in dog language, but I imagined his bark as saying, “Come down and fight like a man you son of a rat and I’ll bite your little head off.”
The squirrel stopped eating long enough to chirp down at him. I assumed he was saying, “Shut up you ignorant cur. Who cut your hair, Stevie Wonder?” That stalemate lasted until I call to my dog to stop barking and keep hiking. I could tell the bad-hair remark got to him because be began to mope again, which only lasted until he spotted the next squirrel.Except for the bad hair and the neutered part, Robby is a lucky dog. He hates squirrels, and there are plenty of them around. The few times when I took him to places that didn’t have rodents, he was depressed. Like humans, dogs seem to need an enemy to feel vital.In fact, my dog and my nation have a fair amount in common.Without a shared foe, our country is becoming polarized. Rather then being united by a common threat, we seem to search for pale substitutes. For most of my life, “the commies” were America’s squirrels; they gave this country a common-villain denominator. Since the Berlin Wall has come down, many of us are searching for an agreeable baddie.
The Soviets were rogues against whom both sides of the political aisle could be united. With the impotence of the Red Menace and this nation’s current villain void, many of us are searching for people to dislike.Lucky for us liberals, there are Cheney and Bush; and for the conservatives, there are same-sex marriages and Clinton’s new book.But we need a common foe. Certainly we all fear and loath terrorists, but most of us have never met one. Terrorists don’t make good enemies. We differ on which country they live in so we can bomb it, and some of them used to be our friends. It is my opinion that this divisiveness is killing our country. We need a foe that we can all agree upon to hate; and we need one fast.I’m no political scientist, but I would recommend the evil squirrel. They are simple to identify, plentiful, fat and easy to kill. My only suggestion would be if we want to win the war, we have to keep my dog out of the fight. Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of “Biff America” can be seen on RSN television, heard on KOA radio and read in several mountain publications. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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