It has been a week since the end of the election and I still can’t believe what happened, and not the result, that always had a 50% chance of happening. I cannot believe how few people were prepared for Wednesday, November 9th. We spent a year preparing for our candidate to win on Tuesday, November 8th, but it seems like no one spent time preparing for the obvious eventuality that on November 9th, there was a 100% chance half of the country was going to be furious and terrified. Lucky for us, people are not the only ones who live in this country.
I would officially like to declare dogs (or cats, or whatever pet gives you unconditional love) to be the MVP of the week following the 2016 Election. While we all blindly believed that our candidate had no chance of losing and feverishly checked social media post that reinforced our beliefs, dogs (and pets, I guess) laid in wait for their call to action. When the race was called in the early hours of November 9th, and the Trump supporters shared a smug, privileged grin, and the Hillary backers shared an ominous quiver of terror, their dogs (pets) shared a knowing glance. It was time to go to work.
When all the anti-Trump Americans felt the bottom of reality fall out from under them, dogs (pets) grounded them, asking for a walk by grabbing their leash in their mouths and tilting their heads. As people felt this country mix socially acceptable levels of hate on the internet with a backslide into the acceptable racism and sexism of the 50s, dogs (pets) put their chins on a lap and looked up with tender eyes, knowing this move has worked since the 50s, the 1650s. When the collective hate and anger from the week became too much, dog (pets) jumped into action and got a paper bag stuck on their head to provide a moment of levity. As people witnessed first hand how ugly the human soul can be, dogs (pets) called our assumptions into questions and desperately pulled them towards a stranger in an attempt to make any new friend. As people lost a sense of home feeling alienated from their country, dogs (pets) made them feel at home by wagging their tails so hard when they walked in the door that their whole body wiggles.
We turn a blind eye to the fact that this race was so divisive, there was little path to any decency and unity after the inevitable loss of one candidate. By contrast, dogs (pets) have been preparing for thousands of years to ready to remind us how much more powerful love is than hate. They have rigorously trained themselves to demonstrate how one cute act can erase hours of hideousness. They teach to cut through all the tension is this life by extend a single paw to your neighbor and ask in whatever language you communicate, “Can you pet my head for just a little longer, please?”
So let’s take a lesson from the MVP of the week after the election and try to put some love and goodness into the world. Let’s try to connect with people different from us just because they are probably good at petting too. Let’s remain curious about all the new smells still out there. Lets remember that there is no reason to curtail the joy you feel when you see someone you love. Let’s shake hands, and give kisses, and be a good boy or a good girl (Nasty Woman still OK). Most of all, let’s reach out and include anyone who is willing to scratch us behind the ears. Which is why you will notice I made an effort to reach across the aisle and include people in this post with whom I vehemently disagree… cat people.