It's a political year, and that's always a danger for a writer. The temptation of course is to exert whatever influence I have in favor of my own (probably not so mysterious) political beliefs.
But I restrain myself to writing letters, signing petitions, making campaign contributions and voting.
Anything else is inappropriate, I think. I do my real work, my proselytizing, in my writing. And if you're reading along, chances are you're in sympathy to the majority of the causes dearest to my heart. But that doesn't mean you're a captive audience or that I am allowed to harrangue you with my political and social views.
So I do try to avoid The Debate.
But I saw a post today where someone innocently mentioned how they resent the term "owned" when it comes to pets. Now...I'm sympathetic to this. Those of us who have loved a dog or a cat consider that creature to be a beloved family member. "Owned" doesn't begin to capture the affection we feel.
But when we try to make the argument that we don't "own" a dog or a cat, that they are equal, we trivilize the battle of humans for equality. Because while an animal has the right to our protection and love and care, an animal is not a functioning member of society. An animal bears no responsibilities. We do not expect it to educate itself, to vote, to bear arms, to...well, let it suffice to say that when we try to make the argument that we cannot "own" animals, that animals are just the same as people, we insult and degrade the battle of those humans who have fought (and continue to fight) for equality in our society.
We also open the argument up wide to those who believe that an unfertilized egg is just the same -- has just the same rights -- as a living breathing child or a living breathing twenty year old--or, apparently--a dog.
And while it's possible that the person making the dog argument does indeed believe that the life of an unborn fetus -- or heck, an unfertilized egg -- is as important as that of his mother, for the vast majority of people in our society, this is not the case. And I think we shall see this proven come November.
In the meantime--though I hate to seem humorless and overbearing about this--it's important that we always consider the long term implications and ramifications of our well-meaning politically-directed comments.