On Monday, Heather Mallick wrote an op-ed about what happens when society gets engulfed in conspiracy-fueled fervor. In it, she identified some “important lessons” for managing these challenges as evidence of how today’s politically charged climate could be dangerous to the founding principles of our country. Among them: We should have at least as many meetings about those interests as we do about right-wing ideological nonsense.
Following some effort to ignore the bulk of her piece, Mallick continued on to say that there are people looking out for the interests of dogs. And while I don’t want to bring attention to dogs, we had better start looking out for those interests if this cataclysmic new era for democracy is to be managed.
So today I want to take a moment to count this writer among the people who are not exactly a day late or a day to the right on this topic.
Because, as Chris Wallace may have pointed out this morning on “Fox & Friends,” there’s something we’re collectively forgetting, at least for this election cycle: dogs are not as important as this election. And I have to say, there have been a lot of people blaming other people for this, and some of the most blatant examples of this “dog does not bark” strategy came from this writer herself, who complained that there’s little attention being paid to the possibility that these opposing parties aren’t aligned, and so there’s basically nothing anyone can do.
Have you heard of “dog do not bark” theory? It describes a phenomenon in which people’s attention just happens to be more tuned in to one issue than another – but it might be useful for a lot of other issues besides. For example, all you have to do is browse the internet to realize the theory extends beyond politics. For the first time, I’m seeing near-identical articles from totally different media sources about the extremely tiny percentage of Americans who are Trump voters. From what I can tell, these articles aren’t cherry-picked by some activist group (not that activist groups don’t exist), and they’re just as much about Trump voters as anyone else.
More importantly, imagine if instead of taking the “dog does not bark” route here, we were allowing the idea that dog does not bark to be an actual educational value. Here’s a helpful rubric to consider in using it to your advantage: dogs cannot talk. So long as they are locked up without any understanding of language, can’t read and need no modern education, nobody is going to listen to them. No matter what they are saying, no one’s paying attention.