By Nancy Churchill
This election cycle reminds me of a brilliant, satirical animated cartoon, “Two Stupid Dogs,” created by Donovan Cook and aired by Hanna-Barbera and Turner Program Services in the mid ’90s.
In one unforgettable segment, the Stupid Dog dachshund uses a cat puppet to try to chase away a real cat by claiming there is food in the next alley. Crazy for food himself, the dachshund is so excited by this prospect that he turns to his own puppet and asks, “Really?” “Yeah,” he, as the puppet, replies, whereupon he throws the cat puppet down and races to the next alley, where there is, of course, no food. “Stupid cat!” he says, “there’s no food in this alley!” Meanwhile, the real cat just stands there with a look of disbelief on its face.
I’d like to think the real cat represents Americans, and, because he’s gullible enough to fall for his own ploy, the dachshund represents radically conservative politicians and their “free-market” followers (puppets?). Isn’t it like them to blame their failures on the real cat, who, they insist, created those failures?
I say this because radical conservative politicians’ only solution to our nation’s economic problems, on behalf of wealthy patrons, is to foist on us secret pacts of austerity that would make third world dictators blush. They claim to want to “protect” Social Security by turning it over to Wall Street, to “save” Medicare by replacing it with a voucher system that puts seniors at the mercy of private insurance providers, and insist on tax breaks for the wealthiest among us, whom they claim create jobs, though history demonstrates just the opposite.
What’s amazing is that they expect us to fall for their deceptions. What’s worse is that too many people really do buy their puppet act and follow them into any alley looking for whatever promise that isn’t there. The vast majority of Americans seem powerless, as if captured in an alternate universe, standing there, dazed, while their country goes to the dogs, so to speak.
Our governing principles have been commandeered by those who can’t get enough profit and who will do whatever it takes to get more, at everyone else’s expense. They claim we need austerity measures to balance budgets, but the austerity is only being exercised on 98 percent of the population, while the wealthiest are being enriched even more. Government by the consent of the governed is a real problem for them, and to the extent we let them force austerity on us with their “food in the alley” fiction, we’ve conceded our democracy to them.
It’s time someone takes over who’s more mature than the stupid dog and his puppet. We the people must be mature enough and informed enough not to fall for “food in the alley” fabrications, and unless we do everything we can to preserve democracy, beginning with VOTING, then taking action, we will only have ourselves to blame if we become a stupid dog nation.
Nancy Churchill is local resident.
From the Sept. 19-25, 2012, issue