Friday, May 19, 2006

Of pit bulls and coyotes

Let me admit first of all that I'm about to make a hypocrite of myself. As much as I hate stereotyping (people all over the world, for example, characterize canines as poor typists. And as much as I might resemble that remark, I also resent it), I'm about to employ some stereotyping in an attempt to clarify my own thinking.

First, let me propose the pit bull as representative of the American populace: big, confident, territorial. Well fed. There are, for many reasons, bones galore in this country for the dogs to chew on. I'm glad I live here, and as I've said on multiple occassions, I don't mind sharing my bones for the betterment of society.

But then, in a horrible stereotype, we have south of the border a nation of canines with much longer to travel between juicy bones. A nation where sharing food beyond the family dish would mean starvation for your own kin. A nation of coyotes.

Now, as a well-fed dog myself, I see no real need to escape my backyard. What would be the point? I have food, and water, and shade. I have a roof over my head when I want, and a warm, comfy place to sleep at night. I have enough bones left over at the end of the day that I can share when I choose to do so.

I can, however, very easily see the temptation to migrate north to escape from a land where far too many dogs have no clue where their next bowl of kibbles might come from, or if they or their pups will ever have a bone to gnaw on or a soft, dry place to sleep. If they must choose between the hunger in their bellies and the fear of the border crossing, that hardly seems a choice, even to me.

So. This country of pitbulls expends incredible energy snorting and snuffling and growling at each other from either end of the political spectrum, either in the belief that they hold the high ground or in the belief that doing so will win them additional years in office. We will end with some sort of compromise that both sides will fault as short-sighted and incomplete, unfair or inhumane.

None of that will lessen the hunger south of the border that drives the migration, yet for some reason, many of us believe that the answer must be either to let them stay or to get a bigger stick and drive them back south of the border (and then pour an unending stream of financial and political and human/canine capital onto the border to try to keep them there).

Neither will prove a longterm solution. The only real solution with any legs or longevity, or any hope of working, requires leveling the playing field south of ours, and that, in turn, would require cooperation between the two governments: from theirs to allow foreign investment in their infrastructure (c'mon - they export oil and import gasoline?) and from ours to encourage, secure, and participate in that investment.

We have to stop looking at them as theiving coyotes before they can stop looking at us as aggressive pit bulls.

Note: my apologies to the fine pit bulls I have known and loved, and to the coyotes whose paths I've had the pleasure of crossing. Especially the three-legged one who single-handedly fought off the invasion of the feral cats. And of course, to my readers, for my having used crude stereotypes as a broad brush to gloss over many factors that complicate the issue.

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Blogger Margaret said...

Tres interessant, Monsieur Chien. J'admets que je ne sais pas ce que je pense de cette situation. La vie n'est jamais noire et blanche. Dommage.

9:30 PM  
Blogger elementaryhistoryteacher said...

Masterfully done and well said. I'm glad we are in each others fan club.:)

11:37 PM  
Blogger Amerloc said...

Margaret, tout ce que j'espere, ce que l'on prend le temps de regarder de tous cotes avant de se decider.

Nous avons decidement besoin de savoir qui entre les E-U. Ca, je pense depuis les evenements de 9-11, est evident. Mais si nous pouvons contribuer en quelque facon a creer au Mexique une economie qui donne au citoyens moyen de se supporter, je crois qu'on gagne tous les deux.

EHT, what can I say? I treasure your willingness to share the results of your research. I treasure the fact that you're willing to DO the research. Of course I'm in your fan club! That you're in mine requires a strong tug at the edges of my imagination, and a sincere thank you!

Now all I have to do is figure out why I got this impossible word verification sequence. It's neither English nor French...

I screwed it up - told you it was nonsense...

8:00 PM  
Blogger Smithie said...

Well put. Only long, difficult and thoughtful answers to this question will work and right now that's a hard sell for us "fix it now or we'll bite your head off" pit bulls.
Oh and thanks for the image of Coyotes working an oil rig...

10:22 PM  
Blogger rgmb said...

while I agree with your thoughts, I also believe that those canines south of the border need to get rid of the alphas in their own pack and begin breeding a new pack. Because as we all know, there is only so much land that can hold a lot of pooches, and up here the terrain is getting marked by everyone's scent to the point where the unmarked trees are few and far between.

6:54 AM  

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