Gerry Bell: My dog Abby for president

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I noted in a conversation the other day that my vote really wouldn't count in the 2020 presidential election. "Vermont and its three electoral votes are a foregone conclusion," I said. "The Democrats could run my dog Abby against Donald Trump in Vermont, and the dog would win."

Then I considered my comment a bit more and realized that the dog would win on the merits. Here's why:

- The issue uppermost in Abby's mind is not a narcissistic focus on herself, but the safety and security of her little corner of the world. She is ever-vigilant and loud in the defense of it, and she means it. She is really strong on our security and wouldn't compromise it for anything.

- She meets the qualifications for president. She is a natural-born citizen, and at 5 years 9 months, is age 40 in dog years - more experienced than Pete Buttigieg, age 37.

- Hers is an inspiring asylum-seeker success story. An angel of mercy saved her from an Alabama kill shelter and arranged for her to come live with us. Abby knows what it's like to need rescue, and she knows to give back and contribute to her new community.

- Her presidential ticket would look like America. She is young, female, and black; and her ideal running mate is her best canine friend, a wise, older, experienced male Labrador.

- She sets an outstanding leadership example in health care and fitness. She eats a well-balanced and nutritious diet, maintains her ideal weight, and keeps fit and manages stress by running and playing every day. Also, she avoids unhealthy habits; she does not drink, smoke, or use drugs. She knows the first step in health care is personal responsibility.

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- Abby is fiscally sensible and is careful with other peoples' money. She does not insist on the ostentatious golden version of everything, nor does she covet or resent other dogs' possessions. As John Grogan so memorably said about Marley, " a waterlogged stick will do just fine." In short, Abby loves people and uses things, not the other way around.

- She believes in negotiating over differences rather than stonewalling or escalating conflict. She avoids biting when a growl will do.

- Abby does not lie, deceive, or mislead people. She is incapable of dissembling. What you see is what you get - always.

- She respects the hunters whose shotguns and rifles we sometimes hear around here, and gives them space for the responsible use of their firearms. However, she does not like even the idea of automatic weapons in our neighborhood.

- Abby mirrors America's true values and outlook. Instead of a turned-down mouth, bared teeth, and an angry expression, she presents a sunny, happy, optimistic face to the world. She lives by the Golden Rule, and loves and respects those who show her love and respect. She does not deal in hatred. (Except possibly for chipmunks. We're working on that.)

- Finally, she has a formal, dignified presidential name, with plenty of gravitas, like Franklin Delano Roosevelt or John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Hers is Abigail Beecher Boney Maroney Bell. However, she is not stuffy or pompous, but approachable; like many presidential candidates of past and present (Bernie, Joe, Pete, Jimmy, Al, Bill), she answers to her nickname.

All in all, I think, a far superior alternative to the incumbent. I'm sure you'll be tempted to write in her name on your ballot. I would like to ask a favor, though. Please don't. She might win, and I'm not ready to share her with the whole country, only with Calvin Coolidge's brave little state of Vermont.

Gerry Bell lives in Shaftsbury.


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