WHAT DO ANIMALS DO WHEN TRUMP CALLS THOSE HE DISLIKES 'ANIMALS?’
“Yes,” I said. “And no.”
“Can’t you ever give a straight answer to a simple question, Phoebe?” Cat scowled, worried that a cloud was about to cut short his precious time in the sun.
“Nothing about Trump is simple, other than the fact that he is evil,” I said.
“Let’s start with what Trump said at a White House meeting last week:
We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are ANIMALS. (Emphasis added).
“Got it,” Cat said. “But Trump says that he didn’t mean ALL immigrants are animals. Just members of the MS-13 gang. He says some reporters took the comment out of context. It was at a meeting of sheriffs, one of whom brought up the gang. And let’s face it, Phoebe, the MS-13’ers are a really wicked breed of cat.”
“It's a distinction without difference, Cat,” I said. “You know what Trump meant; and his supporters absolutely know what he meant.
"Trump uses immigrants as folks that others should despise. Starting with the minority who are criminals, he lumps the criminal ones with all immigrants. Stirring up hatred. And not just against immigrants, but black people, Muslims, transgender people.
"A bigot, speaking to bigots," I said. "Historically, it’s how genocides start, slowly, with words. Just words."
“You gave me a yes-and-no answer, when I asked you whether you were moping about the immigrant-animal thing,” Cat said. “What’s the ‘no’ part?”
“Cat,” I said, “Trump uses the word ‘animal’ as an insult, as a way of demeaning people.”
“Roger that, Phoebe,” he said.
“Here’s the thing, Cat," I said. "You and I are – what?”
“We’re animals, I’d have to say,” Cat replied. "Were animals."
“We sure are. Speaking for myself – an officially designated ‘Sweet Dog’ – how is being an ‘animal’ a bad thing? How is being called an animal an insult?” I asked.
Cat paused for a minute to think, glancing worriedly up at the darkening sky and the fading sun. He said:
“Because humans – in general, I don’t mean all humans – some of my best friends are humans, including the Nice One, and possibly the Grouchy One.
"SOME humans consider themselves to be superior to animals, even though humans are, themselves, animals, only with less fur.”
“In other words, humans are small-minded, dangerous bigots,” I said.
“SOME humans,” Cat said, repeating the word ‘some,’ careful to mince his words.
"So," I said, "Trump should have put it this way:
We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are HUMANS.
IT WAS THE MOMENT Cat had been patiently waiting for all afternoon. And as only a cat can, he pounced on his careless prey:
“But that would be playing Trump’s game, Phoebe, wouldn’t it?” Cat said. “Stereotyping, demeaning, name-calling - just like Trump, you're turning the word ‘human’ into a dirty, all-purpose smear.”
“Well,” I said lamely. “It IS the kind of thing humans do.”
By now, the sun had disappeared, and the deck was growing cold. Once again, in The Age of Trump, nice spring had reverted to rotten spring.
We wandered back into the house, having agreed to stare sweetly, pleadingly at Our Humans, hoping that the Nice One, maybe even Grouchy, might take pity on a pair of starving animals and drop us some treats before supper.
It's kind of sad if you ask me. Humans are so easily manipulated.
Not all humans, of course.