Well, this could go in Humor, or Pets and Garden, but I like it in Politics (so there...)
Reader Lana Reeves of Somerville, MA, writes: "Regarding your columns as a whole, I'd appreciate more political and social commentary, and isn't it about time for a cat column? If your cats aren't doing anything column-worthy lately, maybe it's time for a new kitten?"
Reader Reeves is right: I have avoided delving into the political opinions of my cats. I feel that such talk can be polarizing, and enough people dislike the cat columns already without additional hurled invective. But perhaps I have been in denial. Perhaps I have avoided facing reality. Thank you, Lana Reeves of Somerville, MA!
Cats are Republicans; everyone knows that. They're not neocons; they disapprove of both deficit spending and the Iraq war. They're old-fashioned, limited-government, libertarian, tax-cutting Republicans. They got energized during the Goldwater campaign, which was disappointing, and then again during the Reagan years. After Reagan: doom and gloom for cats, with ideological idiots in control and ideological idiots in the opposition.
So what did they do? They napped. They chased inanimate objects. They demanded more food. They were killing time, waiting for the pendulum to swing again. Meanwhile, they were batting at the pendulum.
I try not to discuss politics with my cats; sometimes the conversation degenerates into hissing matches. I'm not that good a hisser, so the cats walk off thinking they have won. Of course, the cats always walk off thinking they have won, so nothing new there. They're geniuses at repurposing defeat as victory. If we put a cat in charge in Iraq, we'd be out of there in six months and everyone would be sure we'd won.
Since we're never going to win, the sooner we start pretending we've won, the better off the world will be. The cats and I are of one mind on this matter.
On the other hand, cats are adamantly opposed to social programs. They wonder why the money is not being spent on better things like, say, cats. They point out that they can find food and housing, even raise children, without a subsidy from the federal government. I point out that they are using a subsidy from me instead. They yell, "Private sector! Private sector! Gotcha!" So annoying.
When they keep going on about high taxes, I say: "How are we supposed to keep the bridges and highways in repair? How are we supposed to pay for schools? What about emergency relief? What about environmental preservation?"
The cats laugh. (It's not a pretty sight. You've seen what a cat looks like not laughing. Now imagine it laughing. See? Terrifying.) "So, Mr. Clean Air man, you want to help cut down on fossil fuel emissions? We have the solution for you: Let the bridges fall down. Let the roads become rutted paths again. People would cope and, meantime, much lower pollutant emissions. How come your beloved Sierra Club never thinks of that? Too busy driving their Beemers?"
I point out that they are employing a vile stereotype. They quite like vile stereotypes.
How about schools? "We don't go to school; why should we care?" This is a line of reasoning taken by many people when school bonds come up for a vote. "Besides, are the schools doing that good a job? Good money after bad, Kibble Boy." I reply that things can get better; we need to give them a chance. Cats, however, are born pessimists. "You think things are going to get better? Where have you been for the last 40 years?"
So, what's your solution? "Homeschooling. Private sector again, nyah nyah." See how not fun this is. I point out that homeschooling would only result in more people believing that evolution is just zany speculation. "Great! You believe in Darwin, right? So let the stupid stay stupid and walk into holes. More room for the rest of us."
What about environmental protection? "How's that been working out for you lately? Oh, never mind. Look, you talk about the national parks. When was the last time you took us to see Yosemite? When was the last time we saw anything but the back garden, which, we point out, is a triumph of private sector initiative? No, all we get is that stupid calendar. Oh joy, the Tetons. Something else we'll never see."
So what's your solution? "Isn't it obvious? More cats, fewer people. We walk lightly on the land; we carefully bury our waste; we require neither paper products nor petroleum derivatives. Why don't you all blast off for the moon and leave Earth to us?"
So I hide their food bowls in the refrigerator. Childish, I know, but I had to show them who's the boss. Who is the boss?
I, for one, welcome our feline overlords. I am looking forward to candid and productive interspecies dialogue, followed by prowling.