Sometimes when I’m watching the Sunday morning talk shows, Franny joins me on the couch with her favorite bone. She brings it along because I once said, with great passion, ” Now I really have a bone to pick with Stephanopoulos!” (Franny’s smart, but there always seems to be a weird disconnect when she tries to barge into my world.) Anyway, today we were watching the talk on the latest Supreme Court ruling. I gave her the rundown: rich people, at least people richer than us, want everyone to be able to give as many bones as they want to anyone they want elected to office. Of course, most of us don’t have a bone to spare, but that’s not the point. We’re talking the Constitution here, I told her.
” So how many bones would I need to get if I wanted to be head of Animal Control?” she asked, gnawing away.
” That’s not the point”, I reiterated.
“Sounds like the point”, she said, cracking away at the marrow.
“No, it’s about freedom of speech. Money…bones…is speech.”
“So if you give me a lot of bones, I can bark all I want?”
” Yeah, I guess you could say that.” I was already tired of this conversation. She needed to be on Meet The Press. She’s like a dog with a bone when it comes to making her point. Yeah, yeah, bad pun.
Franny wasn’t finished. She looked at me speculatively.
“So let me get this straight. If I asked all the dogs in the neighborhood to give me all their bones, I could bark day and night? More than anybody else? Is there a rule that says if you don’t have a bone, you can’t bark? ”
“Sort of”,I mumbled. I sighed, and made the poor decision to engage.
“Let’s just say the more bones you have, the bigger a dog you must be, right? So when you bark, the other dogs pay attention. You bark at the strange guy cutting through your neighborhood, they all do too. Maybe chase him because you say so.”
“Hmmm,” said Franny, grinning a little. “I like it. How do I get them to give me all their bones, though? ”
” You only have to promise them more bones back than they ever saw before in their lives”, I said.
“But what if I can’t?”
I thought about it, then laughed.
“In that case, you don’t get re-elected, but all the big dogs know you’re an expert on collecting big piles of bones, so you go work for them and make even more piles!” Thinking we were done, I started to channel surf the talk shows. Franny watched, her peach pit size reptilian brain seizing on the idea of bone piles filling the house. Disdainfully, she pushed the old, used up bone off the couch. She jumped down to begin planning her campaign, but turned with a final question.
” Is this dogocracy?” she asked, proud to have been paying attention.
” You mean, democracy?” I asked, amused at her mistake. She didn’t answer, but looked at me with a faraway look in her eyes.
“Those Funding Fathers sure knew what they were doing”, she breathed, with admiration.
“Founding”, I corrected, clicking on a channel. “Founding Fathers.”
“Funding,” she repeated. I rolled my eyes. She winked. “The Funding Fathers of a dog-eat-dog world. That’s right up my alley. Grrrrrrrrrr. Gimme your bones.”