Last Tuesday night, Americans experienced a world-shifting change. Tears flowed. The streets of Chicago erupted with dancing. Everything would be different now. Within an hour of being elected as our next president, Barack Obama announced to his daughters, Malia and Sasha, in front of billions of others, that a puppy would be accompanying them to the White House in January.
First of all, you don’t just say that. Puppy proliferation is too sensitive an issue to be bandied about willy-nilly in front of so many viewers, including many viewers abroad who hate the freedoms Americans enjoy. Like puppies. They clearly have to hate puppies, as the statistics show the United States is far ahead of the rest of the world with respect to mall kiosks selling puppy calendars. And obviously due to this worldwide hatred, a White House advertising puppy occupancy is a White House that is much more of a target.
Second, this is a family concern, and not 30 seconds into his victory speech, Obama showed his inexperience by drawing billions into his personal life. Big mistake. The very existence of the Bush White House dog, a Scottish Terrier named Barney, was in doubt until last week, according to many CIA officials, which is the way it should be. The public doesn’t need to know these things. Due to Obama’s slip of the tongue, media scrutiny forced Barney to reveal his identity, and to prove his dominance by biting a reporter outside the White House. None of this needed to happen, but as they say, “Loose lips sink ships and ruin everything that is supposed to be good about democracy.” Like secret puppies.
This leads me, kicking and screaming, to the unavoidable cliché of placing the word “gate” onto the end of anything that makes any political news at all. Yes, I’ve got to call this “Puppygate ’08,” which, unfortunately, has a really nice ring to it. But this isn’t my only reason for giving our current situation this “pet name,” if you will. The other reason is this: Barack Obama, if you’re reading The Easterner right now, take heed. You literally are going to need to get a puppy gate.
They are fairly inexpensive, and can be obtained at any baby or pet store, or other outlet like, say, Target. That is, if you’ll allow yourself to enter a red-themed store full of commoners, being the blue-state, blue-blooded, East Coast elitist that you are.
Don’t underestimate the importance of penning your untrained dog into certain sectors of the White House, or yours will be an administration full of regret.
Mr. President, imagine the alternative: having to get behind a podium and greet the American public with the excuse “my dog ate it,” referring to the chewed-up economic stimulus package that you stayed up formulating late into the night. We don’t care if your dog ate the hard copy and the thumb drive you used to save it. For one thing, e-mail such files to yourself. But really, a simple wood and plastic puppy gate will keep this nightmare from coming true.
And don’t think you can just foist puppy-care off on White House staffers, either. Or on your daughters. As Disney Channel movies often show, child members of the first family will be busy with hilarious trials and harrowing social issues of their own. No, Mr. President, this will be your job.
If you’re really going to connect with the middle class you courted so thoroughly during the election, they want to see you picking up dog poop with an inside-out plastic bag sheathed over your hand. Don’t think you can bring yourself to do it? Yes, you can.