I thought two weeks after the national election the attacking and counterattacking by the right and left would end. The political ads are gone, but cable news, Facebook and Twitter remain filled with written and verbal assaults. I’ve quit listening, and you know who else has risen above it all? My dog, Milo.
As I thought more about it, I came to the conclusion our election process would go more smoothly if voters thought and behaved more like Milo and her four-legged friends. I came up with five good reasons to support my conclusion.
- Dogs don’t care about what you say. They care about what you do. They are focused on how you’ve treated them in the past and even more focused on how you’re treating them now. Speeches and debates would be lost on dogs.
- Dogs can see through false promises and insincerity. If you don’t like them, they sense it. They know how you really feel, no matter how much you smile and praise them. Lying to a dog is a waste of time.
- Once you earn the friendship of a dog, they’re forever loyal. On the other hand, if you’ve ever mistreated or teased them, they remember. They are not undecided as to how they feel about you. If voters behaved as dogs, all the talk and speculation about undecided voters would end.
- Identity politics don’t work with dogs. Dogs of all shapes, sizes, colors, sexes, training and pedigrees think and act pretty much the same. They value the same things. They like to eat, sleep, play with other dogs, pee where other dogs pee, and of course, greet each other by smelling butts.
- Dogs don’t use social media. Most don’t even watch TV. The only way to communicate with a dog is face to face. Candidates would need to forget about multi-million dollar attack ads and Tweeting meaningless 140-character messages in the middle of the night.
My advice to future candidates: treat voters like dogs. Communicate with actions, not words. Tell them the truth. Earn their loyalty. Don’t put them in buckets based on sex, race, and education level. And talk to them directly, not through Tweets and PAC-funded attack ads.
I’ve wondered which presidential candidate Milo would have chosen. I imagine if she’d had the chance to meet Donald and Hillary prior to the election, she would have chosen Hillary. I don’t base this on how well the candidates adhered to the five items above, but on Hillary owning two dogs (a toy poodle and Lab) and Donald being pet-less. In fact, it’s been reported there’s no evidence that the president-elect has ever had a dog as a pet. If this had been highlighted earlier, it might have swung the dog-lover vote and the election.