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IdaBriggs

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Gender: Female
Hometown: South East Michigan
Home country: United States
Member since: Tue Jul 27, 2004, 01:19 PM
Number of posts: 10,559

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All Politics Are Local (my story from way back when)

A long time ago, I used to consider myself a proud Independent. I believed, perhaps naively, that both sides had good people who wanted what was best for this country - the whole country, and not just the "rich people." I split my ticket and voted for the "best person" for the job. That meant sometimes I voted for Republicans. Truthfully, the first time I voted "straight Dem" was 1996 after the impeachment nonsense about President Clinton; it was such obvious partisanship, I was enraged.

But this is about "local politics" and I want to explain how I voted for a Republican who I still respect to this day.

I was almost nineteen, and had been on my own for nearly a year when I made a foolish impulsive decision, and got a puppy. The whole litter was being given away at the front of a local grocery store, and good sense would have been to keep walking, but PUPPIES! Tippy (short for "Tippycanoe" was a black lab mix with a small white chest marking, and a little white tip on his tail. He was somewhere between six and eight weeks old, absolutely adorable, and I was living by myself in a house that was "under construction" in a questionable neighborhood. I could barely support myself, let alone a puppy, but good sense is not part of this story.

He licked my face, I fell in love, and he came home.

I was NOT a "good puppy mom" at that point in my life, and there are stories about that time that are embarrassing. The yard was not fenced in, so potty training required supervision and I wasn't experienced enough to "crate train." I relied on my extensive childhood "dog experience" which, with the eyes of maturity, I now realize was heavily "mom" dependent for the "non-play" stuff.

And little Tippy grew; within a few months he wasn't "little" anymore. He liked to chew/destroy things (not a surprise with his lab heritage), jumped on people, and wanted "outside" at cold/inconvenient times. One cold early December morning a few days before Christmas I let him outside to do his business, and didn't supervise him while I ran to do mine - only for a few minutes! - came back, and he had disappeared.

This is not about one of my prouder moments.

I looked for him, but he was nowhere to be found. Neighborhood children joined in the search, but no luck. In hindsight, I believe someone a few streets over took him in, and I pray he lived a long healthy life with a good family, but at the time, I was devastated. I knew I had been irresponsible, and was terrified he had been picked up by the animal control people. (He wasn't old enough for his license, but had begun his puppy shots.) No one at the shelter answered my calls late Saturday afternoon or Sunday, and I "knew" if he was picked up, he was going to have three days before they put him to sleep.

I was at the shelter on Monday. They were closed. It was Christmas Eve. My stress / grief / guilt / panic was overwhelming, and in my despair, I was convinced (because I could see people there who were refusing to come to the door) that my puppy was there, and they were going to put him down.

What do you do in this type of situation? It was two weeks after my nineteenth birthday. I opened the phone book, and called everyone I could think of - and the person who answered his home phone (which was listed in the phone book back in these ancient times) was my local County Prosecutor. (ON EDIT: I thought he was the County Executive at the time, but apparently I had his title wrong. I don't think I even knew what a prosecutor was at this point in my life. Doh!)

He listened to my story, made a few phone calls, then called me back to assure me that the shelter had no dogs matching Tippy's description, and even if they did, he wasn't going to be killed. He gave me a name (the person in charge at the shelter), and I met with that person the day after Christmas.

Tippy wasn't there, but I was given personal attention because the County Prosecutor made sure of it.

I never saw a Tippy again, but I never forgot the kindness of the man who interrupted his family's Christmas Eve celebration to help a foolish teenager with a lost puppy. I've voted for him (with a few exceptions) for decades since.

The man is Republican L. Brooks Patterson, and he is in the news for some remarks about Detroit. Some might call it a scandal, and it probably is, but I'd vote for him tomorrow. At some level, I trust him still, and bluntly, while his remarks may be scandalous, the truth is that certain areas of Detroit aren't safe for its citizens, let alone visitors, and the true scandal should be that fact instead of those who say it out loud.

Don't ask me to defend all of his remarks, because I can't. But all politics are local, and I still remember that terrible Christmas and Tippy, and I also remember a kindness to someone who was really a "no one." The measure of a man, in my opinion, is how he behaves when no one is looking.

The only one looking was me, and I have NEVER forgotten.
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