(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN APRIL 2014, BUT JUST AS APROPOS NOW.)
Imagine the American public as a big mixed-breed dog. (That was easy, wasn't it?) This dog had been treated poorly by its master for years, if not outright abused. Other dogs, especially purebreds, were pampered with steak and all kinds of treats. They luxuriated in comfy dog beds from L.L. Bean, never got wet when it rained or snowed or were toweled off if they did, had their own spot in the back of the family SUV when they went on vacation to tony resorts, and went to the vets for regular checkups and prompt care should, heaven forbid, they get sick.
The big mixed-breed dog was not so fortunate, and like the many others with less distinguished parentage, subsisted on scraps and sometimes measly handouts from the master and his advisers. He never got treats, lived in a leaky doghouse and got wet when the weather was bad. If he was lucky enough to go for a ride, it was in a cage on the roof of the family SUV and the destination was anything but glamorous, and he never went to the veterinarians, not even for checkups. As a mixed breed, he just wasn't deserving enough.
But things began to change for the better a few years ago when the big mixed-breed dog got a new master. The new master promised better times for all dogs. "Kibble and change, kibble and change," the new master vowed. "Kibble and change."
The new master was pretty much true to his word, and his advisers pretty much did his bidding, at least the ones who did not have purebred dogs and were not beholden to the old master. The big mixed-breed dog's diet got better and most of the holes in his doghouse were patched. Best of all, he began going to the vets for regular checkups. He got shots when he was supposed to, was treated for a bad tooth, and now took medicine for hairballs.
Things were definitely looking up for he and other mixed breeds, but then things began to change for the worse.
Some of new master's advisers refused to help patch up the rest of the holes in the big mixed-breed's doghouse and it began to leak badly again. His diet wasn't so good anymore, and the advisers pretty much cut off all the treats. Worst of all, they threatened to stop his visits to the vets because the purebred dogs objected. That and the fact too many dogs, most of them chihuahua mixes, were coming across the border.
The big mixed-breed dog was puzzled about why the better times seemed to be ending. It seemed like the purebreds actually had preferred it when things weren't better for all dogs. He decided to try to find out why when he next encountered a certain know-it-all poodle at the dog park.
"You just don't get it," this poodle replied one day as he lifted his leg and directed a steam of pee on one of the trees that dog park volunteers had planted to provide shade on hot summer days. These trees weren't looking so good because the poodle and other purebreds kept peeing on them, and the big mixed-breed dog knew that there soon would be no shade at all.
"You just don't get it, but then you always were a gullible cur," the poodle declared in his obnoxiously whiny drawl in explaining why the purebreds were biting the hand that fed the mixed breeds. "Come a little closer and I'll tell you why if you promise to not tell your pals."
"It's because your master is a mutt, too."
IMAGE FROM SHUTTERSTOCK