“Meanderings” by Jim Peters

Regular contributor Jim Peters sent along this essay this past weekend; sorry I’m only now getting a chance to post it.

Some would say that not much passes through my brain on a good day, but I was just thinking, and you heard it here first, that dogs, those cute little furry animals, are today’s children. Seldomly do I watch television, and not see a dog food commercial. And, it is no longer the Kennel Ration song, “My dog’s better than your dog, my dog’s better than yours, my dog’s better ’cause he eats Kennel Ration” etc. Now your dog is fed by a trained chef. My son recently spent a great deal of money on his dog because his two year old dog had glaucoma and required eye surgery.

My sister-in-law’s dog had cancer, and was given chemotherapy. I would bet that costs a mint. Nightly news shows detail finding dogs in squalor. They show graphic images of dogs living in their own filth, which is disgusting and something that any animal should not have to do. However, these are animals, admittedly good animals, but still. And giving them valuable TV time when there are humans living in their own feces out there is, in my opinion, just cheap reporting.

I am just a farm kid from Iowa. I know that there is nothing special about Angus beef because most slaughter cows are Angus cows. They were all over the state. One Iowan company even made it to the big time by advertising their chicken products on the television, which is their right. They ended up hiring hundreds. They are still in business to this day. Now, I know there is a great difference between animals raised for consumption and animals raised for pets. I am definitely not comparing a dog to a cow. But they both respond to petting, they respond to human contact, and they are both, in their unique ways, good animals, but animals, nevertheless.

I have often wondered when watching that commercial that says that a meat professional designed their dog food, what a persons starving in a poorer country would think of us. Not much, I would bet. If we treat our dogs like children, what message are we sending to our children. That they can be replaced by a cute look and a wet tongue? People are starving all over the world, and we run commercials, at great cost, saying that we value our dogs so much that we give them prime cuts of meat. I say, feed the starving children first.

I know that everyone loves their dog. Mine is one of my most faithful companions. She is something like 84 years old in “dog years,” and she does not have long to go. Will we get another one? I really do not know. I am sure there are those of you out there who would see me as unworthy of having such a faithful pet. Actually, I am a pretty fair dog owner. And my dog does not suffer many ego-repressing practices. She is rewarded for what she does right, not often scolded because, in spite of myself, I love her and so does the rest of my family. I just keep going back to that war-torn kid in Africa who needs sustenance and we, the greatest producer of food in the history of man, show our dogs getting the best of the best.

As I said, there is little on my mind. That is one of the little things that are there.

I missed the Democratic Issues Convention today. I did not really have the money to spend for the Registration Fee, and I was working, obstensibly for the money that would have paid for the applications fee. I wonder what they decided about polling and how it is done, or about the many issues that the Democratic Party is facing in its uphill battle to place the sitting President back in the White House. I personally believe that he has done a pretty fair job, although he cannot get the economy back to work (pun intended). I have to say I wonder how his dog is making out in the White House.

Anyway, I do feel a bit badl that I missed the Democratic Issues Convention today. I think the party has a long way to go before they understand what motivates the common voter. Their last Congress committed suicide over the Health Care provision. They should have waited, in my opinion, but they wanted to push it through, and they lost the House as a result. Not good for liberal agendas, and dealing with the conservatives is proving to be a difficult process.

I have a friend who says that there are just two parties in America. The Incumbents and the Challengers. Once the Challengers get in, he says, they become the Incumbents, using most of their time to keep their job. I don’t know if I agree with that, there is, after all, the suicide Congress I just mentioned, they did not keep their jobs and many of them were profiles in courage. They knew if they supported that health bill at that time, they would lose their seats, but they voted their conscience anyway.

In the book, “The Ugly American,” the author cites a situation unique to the United States. He says that we sent millions of tons of rice to the people in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, etc. and never marked the bags as products of the United States of America. The Soviets at the time, took the bags and stamped them as products of the Soviet Union. Now I know that the Soviets do not exist anymore but what if he was right? What happens if our humanitarian aid is not clearly marked as coming from the USA? We lose populations and our prestige around the world.

I guess my meanderings today are about our prestige around the world. How can we expect people who cannot speak or read English, but hear about our fascination with feeding out pets the best, or not telling them where their food is coming from, to understand America? Hell, half of the time I do not understand us. There were, the President said, over 700 Republican Amendments in the Health Bill but not one Republican voted for it.