GUNS, ISRAELIS and DOGS
There is so much money being thrown at so many issues by so many who have too much. Lobbying, at its best, seems to be putting forward the best foot of the payer. At its worst, it is institutionalized lying without limits. There are three lobbies in America that far outshine the rest, listed in no particular order:
The gun lobby
The Israeli lobby
The dog lobby
They share in common an overt willingness to distort the truth and promote the cause regardless of the impact on those of us not being paid to shill. The gun lobby is easy – they promote a product that kills people and distort every manner of verifiable evidence of this singular purpose by coming up with a whole lot of reasons each of us should fight to have one of these things. The world is a dangerous place, so the reasoning goes, that can only be made safer by owning, carrying, concealing, and being prepared to use a carbon copy of the very thing that makes the world a more dangerous place.
The Israeli lobby tugs on the heartstrings of past tragedy that almost no one alive today actually experienced to obscure a similar tragedy perpetrated by the Israelis on people very much alive today. These guys are aided in their mission by the stubborn unwillingness of today’s victims to acknowledge yesterday’s victims. This only matters in America because the Israeli lobbyists say it does, and no one here seems willing to say it doesn’t.
Now the dog lobby – perhaps the most insidious of all. No lobby has a symbol so out of sync with reality, not even the gun lobby – legions of men, women, and children wandering the streets of America with inverted plastic bags over their hands ready at the drop of a turd to pick it up. Folks unwilling to clean a toilet, never mind grabbing a human turd, seemingly can’t get enough of dog turds. I think the reason for this is that dog turds come with the dog, and the dog lobby has created this “man’s best friend” frenzy about dogs. Suppose the women’s lobby, strong as it is, tried to compete in the “man’s best friend” category – the first time a guy had to walk around picking up the turds of the woman he loves, game over.
But it is not just about turds, the dog lobby came up with and tirelessly promotes the idea that dogs are these faithful, non-judgmental creatures waiting breathlessly for their caregivers to appear so each can lavish the other with uncompromised love and affection. No mention here of barking, nipping (dog owner speak for “biting”), tearing up the furniture, chewing on other pets (get angry cat lovers), eating their own barf (yes), and vet bills. How many of us have cringed when confronted by a dog, with teeth, barking at us with owner in tow, only to hear the owner say: “He really is friendly.” Would anyone say this about a barking neighbor with a handgun?
Now let’s look at the numbers. Guns win, with dogs in second place, and Israeli’s in third place, if measured by numbers in the US. For the record, there are more or less 300 million privately owned firearms in the US (leaving only a few infants unarmed on a per capita basis), more or less 80 million pet dogs in the US, and a scant 100,000 or so Israelis in the US. This would suggest that the gun lobby has been most successful at spreading its message, leaving guns more popular than dogs and Israelis. Remember, however, that you have to feed and care for dogs while all you have to do with a gun is buy it and then stick it somewhere fully loaded where you can get at it when a bad guy or your teenage kid decides to come in through an open window. So let’s give the dog lobby a lot of credit for putting an average of 1.47 dogs in every household in America, a staggering figure once you realize the cost of food and care and the fact that many of those households are short on food for humans and have already spent hard earned cash on a gun.
As a final lobbying lesson, it bears noting that in much of America, you can drive with a loaded gun in the car, an unrestrained dog in the car, and an Israeli in the car. However, you cannot drive with an unrestrained child or while talking on your cellphone. I am ok with Israelis in the car, but would like to see loaded guns and unrestrained dogs join cellphones and unrestrained children on the forbidden list. While I am not sure that these lobbyists talk to each other, I am sure that each group relies on the other to set the ethical bar so low that no one will ever notice that guns kill people, dogs and Israelis; dogs bite gun owners and Israelis; and Israelis use guns and dogs to achieve their desired results.