“I think people should elect a cat person. If you elect a dog person, you elect someone who wants to be loved. If you elect a cat person, you elect someone who wants to serve.”—Stephen Harper. Interview with Kevin Newman, Global National April 5th, 2006.
With this statement, Stephen Harper has let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. He is a cat person, and it matters. Cat people love their cats, but they don’t demand a lot of them. Dog people expect a lot of dogs from herding sheep to guarding property, to guiding the blind, to just plain old companionship. Has anyone ever heard of a seeing-eye cat? Does anybody ever go for long walks with a cat? Can you imagine a cat going for help like Lassie? I have never personally encountered a cat that knew its own name. A cat person sees a cat’s apparent inability to learn anything as a sign of fierce independence. A dog person is constantly amazed by how much a dog understands.
The cat person’s tolerance of the cat’s supposed independence is evidence of an indulgent attitude toward bad character. Take Mike Duffy. A dog person’s natural impulse is to roll up a newspaper and smack Duffy on the nose. A cat person simply buys Duffy a larger box of scented sand. Dog people expect results; cat people are all about appearances. Cats look wise. Dogs are smart. Cats purr and rub up against your leg until you feed them. Dogs stay by you even when the cupboard is bare. A cat will lie in your lap and let you stroke it, but any lap will do. Yours just happens to be the lap that’s available. A dog is loyal and forms actual relationships and friendships with individual humans. If somebody attacked you, your cat would either watch or flee; your dog would defend you by attacking the attacker.
Cat people are natural right wingers; they think it will all work out for the best if everybody just looks out for Number One. Dog people are natural social democrats; they believe we are all responsible for each other. Cat people are satisfied with surface appearances; dog people always look for a deeper meaning.
I would counter Stephen Harper’s quote with the following:
I think people should elect a dog person. If you elect a cat person, you elect someone who confuses being used with being loved. If you elect a dog person, you elect someone who wants the best for everybody in the pack.