Art? Literature? Travel? All are fine topics to wrap a conversation around. Politics? Not so much, for me. There are times, however, when a discussion must include the very topic that sits in the living room like the proverbial pink elephant. The only way around is through. And my only way through is with the help of my service dog.
Climate of Fear
Fear factors rise with each news story of the verbal and physical attacks occurring at Trump gatherings. Disagree and you might become disabled. It seems not to matter that rules are broken or laws overstepped.
For a wee sense of balance, counter those images with clips of Sanders on stage, arm-in-arm with musicians singing, “This Land Is Your Land.” It makes me wonder if Trump protesters could be so easily tossed out if, linked together at the elbows in a human chain, they held no signs but merely sang – hummed, even – “This Land Is Your Land.” If there were a way to guarantee Tommy’s safety, I’d go to one of those protests.
Did I really type that? If there were a way to guarantee Tommy’s safety? At a political rally? In a country where free speech is a documented right? My protective-mother shackles should not be triggered by the potentially unsafe response to simply being there with a differing point of view. Are there bathrooms nearby? Yes, that should be my concern, not safety from being attacked by others who live in the very same country with the very same rights.
Still, I think, Trump has already used the disabled as a target. I’m old news. But the dog. A dog trained to help people. A dog trained to help people beside a disabled woman who’s singing out of key but with a smile on her face and a hand on the dog? No one doesn’t like a service dog, particularly one so regal, so dedicated, so soulful.
The one factor that would hold me back is the fear factor, fearing for his safety.
Going to the Dogs
Somehow, we need to get through the living room. And seated by the pink elephant is another that is keeping me from accessing the rest of my home. The other one has some mud-slinging and rule-breaking going on as well.
So, with Sir T by my side, here goes it:
“This land is your land, this land is my land, from the farm in Ipswich to the West Coast islands.
From the clinics for Parkinson’s, the MS centers, veteran’s associations, and the teams of dog trainers,
This land was made for you and me.” (with a nod to Woody Guthrie)
This land needs service dogs (“the need is huge– the danes are good– even great.” – from the blog of a woman I know and respect).
This land needs those who have self-respect (“I won’t be belittled.” – from the voice of a woman I know and love).
This land needs respect (“r-e-s-p-e-c-t” – from a strong female we all know and love).
If singing isn’t your thing, talk. Or not. Disagree, but before disagreeing, be sure the source and facts are accurate.
If linking arm-in-arm isn’t your thing, consider what does connect us. Disagree, but before making it public, be certain it’s not personal.
If rallying isn’t your thing, stay home. That’s okay, too. As long as, throughout this land, we’re all following the rules, not bending them. The rules of respect as well as the rules that govern the land of service dogs.
This land needs us to step up to fear. (“Be afraid. But, don’t let that scare you from doing what is right – from my father when an issue in college frightened me).
Both of the pink elephants in my living room are daunting. If the smaller one could move just a touch, I could at least get to the bathroom. The big one is likely to hang around a bit longer. I’ll keep singing to it. In between, I’ll talk about painting and books, the English countryside and, of course, dogs. There is no f-e-a-r in any of these.