I’m one of the only ones left who can remember. I’m one of the only ones left who even wants to remember. Nobody believes me when I tell them, but it’s true. Dogs used to vote. They were a legitimate and powerful part of the country’s electorate…too powerful. Of course they whitewashed the history books and people forget, as always. But I won’t forget. I won’t ever forget.
America was young, free, in love. It was a grand experiment. The Bill of Rights was the first time that a government had ever codified and enshrined into law the rights of its citizens. But history has conveniently forgotten about the tenth and a half Amendment—‘Being necessary for a free society, the rights of canines to cast votes shall not be abridged’. In retrospect, that was a bad move.
Luckily, at first there weren't all that many dogs and they were poorly organized. Acquiescing, they allowed George Washington to be the first president, although they did want the honorable Spot J. Pinckney as Secretary of the Treasury. Wisely, Alexander Hamilton got the nod. The dogs ran Sparky for president in 1800, but Jefferson and Aaron Burr were better known nationally. The dogs would probably only have had the power of say, the modern Green Party, or the Legalize Heroin Society, but Jefferson made a crucial mistake. Thinking he was simply going to shell out a little cash and double the size of the country, he bought the--at the time--huge state of Louisiana from France. But, old Tom forgot just how many dogs there were in Arkansas. He’d inadvertently given the dogs the power that they needed to be a political force in this burgeoning republic.
OK, reality check time. There was no James Madison. That’s the name that historians have given to Rex F. Worthington II, our first canine president, co-author of the Federalist Papers, half Doberman/half German Shepherd, and husband of Dolley Madison. In fact, it was only due to Rex’s fearless leadership that we were able to win the War of 1812. Every dog has his day.
Despite his political and military success, not all Americans were fans of President Rex. When Rex’s time was up, the humans got together and nominated James Monroe, who looked more like a dog than anyone else at the time, and the gambit worked. He was able to pick up twenty percent of the confused doggy vote. Thus Monroe was narrowly able to beat out Fluffy Peterson once Rex had served his eight years, or fifty-six years, depending on your point of view.
In order to assure that the White House could remove its doggy door, the humans banded together and kept the dogs away from our seats of power for a good while. But time erases even the best memory. Grover Cleveland was a Springer Spaniel. Since Cleveland didn’t really do much anyway, it was easy for historians to doctor up a human picture of him and make up some “accomplishments” for the books. The historians conveniently forgot that he sold off parts of what is now Western Canada for a side of beef and some kibble.
In the election of 1896, William McKinley ran against Trixy Johnson and won. Trixy was the first bitch to ever run for president, but probably not the last.
As the 1900s came, humans realized that their birth rates didn't come close to that of dogs. And since it’s difficult to convince human women that they should have a litter, and not technically possible (at least at the time), the people tried a different tact. In order to stem the inevitable tide of minority suffrage, turn of the century power brokers put in place new restrictions on the voting rights of minorities. And dogs were no exceptions. While history has noted the shameful era of Jim Crow, it’s forgotten all about the Stand Erect Laws and the Doggy-Style Restrictions of the early 1900s. In many states across the land, not just the South, it was understood that if you couldn't stand on two feet/paws for more than fifteen seconds then you were turned away from the voting booth. The doggy-style restrictions were tough to prove, but have you ever seen dogs have intercourse in the missionary position? It’s really disturbing. Still, it was assumed that if you were a dog then your parents probably conceived you in standard canine fashion. The simplest voting restriction was putting the ballot boxes higher. This tragic piece of our past haunts us all.
For those historians and earnest students who have studied changes in canine electoral success, there is a piece of definitive evidence showing just how far doggy electoral prowess had sunk. We've all seen the “Checkers” video which our esteemed--at the time--Vice President Richard Nixon, filmed to coax America into giving a collective “aaawwww” and to keep his job. However, few have ever seen the video that Checkers himself made to try and convince America to drop that loser, Nixon. It was powerful stuff.
Nowadays, it’s just different. Today’s dogs just don’t have the kind of influence they once had. They've been trying for years to put a hit on Bob Barker, unsuccessfully. When a youngster asks me about the old days, I tell them. I tell them that it was simply a different world. It was a world where dogs weren't kept in little one room houses, where they weren't chained, where we weren't forced to walk behind them and clean up their poo. It was just different.
This story is from Bowen Craig's book entitled A Look to the Future Through the Eyes of an Eighty Year Old Pirate available online at http://www.amazon.com/Look-Future-Through-Eighty-Pirate/dp/1450286194 .