On the stump


by Frances Edstrom

On a sunny day last week, the dog-who-must-not-be-written-about was out at the fence holding a confab with some of the other dogs in the neighborhood. It seemed to be quite a long time before he knocked on the back door to be let in.

"Big news around these parts?" I asked.

"The campaign!" he said. "How could you forget?"

"Well," I said, trying to find the right words, "I thought that was just a little joke, you running for president of the U.S.A."

"A"a" joke? That is a low blow, a very low blow," he said, looking injured.

"But you're a dog! Dogs don't run for President!" I said.

"It's a matter of semantics," he said. "In fact, I have a very effective campaign underway, and you might be more than a little surprised come November."

"Please, do tell."

"Well, our strategy is to wait for the other candidates to implode. No human can sustain eight months of campaigning without doing something ruinous."

"Okay, I'll give you that. But how do you expect to overcome the fact that you are an enormous dog?"

"Look at it this way. How do politicians get into trouble? I mean real trouble, not just by boring people."

"Well, there's always the extramarital affair."" I said.

"Precisely! And I am immune to such accusations, thanks to you and that slasher of a vet you sent me to when I was just a puppy!"

"I see you may have something there."

"No, I have nothing there!" he guffawed.

"Objections to your voting record""

"Yup, don't have one!"

"Military service, lack thereof, rash comments about your fellow soldiers""

"Don't have a record there, either. Even if I wanted to serve, there is an inherent prejudice among humans against sending Poodles into war. Certainly the voters won't hold that against me!"

"What about your domestic policy?"

"That's where I'm strongest. Who can argue with a domestic policy that calls for a full bowl of food for everyone every day of the year, year after year? Who can argue with demanding that all citizens have the opportunity to lie on the couch""

"Hey, you're not supposed to lie on the couch!" I said.

""to lie on the couch, or if the sun is out, snooze on the carpet. And as long as you want! My plan is brilliant! No one opposes it!"

"What about a war chest, you know, money for advertising?" I thought I had him there.

"You humans simply do not understand the powerful communications system that canines have developed."

"Well, I hear you."

"Another thing you don't understand is the power we hold over you humans," he said.

"Tell you what, I begin to understand that when I shop for dog food."

"Oh, that's the least of it! What other living beings can get humans to follow them around on a leash?" he asked.

"Wait a minute! You are the one on the leash," I pointed out.

"Hardee, har har!" he said. "Humans are so delusional! Do you really know any human who couldn't easily be talked into selling his vote for an extra little dose of affection and understanding from his dog? A little longer listen to all those problems you think you have? Well, do you?"

"I'm sure there are a lot of us who think for ourselves," I said, but began to think about other people I know who do the silliest things for their pets. I was beginning to be frightened.

"But how are you going to get on the ballot?" I thought I had him stumped. "You aren't even a citizen!"

"Do you know which members of the Supreme Court have dogs?" he asked.

A chill ran through me.


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