Swim, Willy, swim!
April 15, 2011
Back in 2003, Rush Limbaugh lost his job as commentator on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” because he claimed Philadelphia Eagles’ black quarterback Donovan McNabb got the job by affirmative action. Rush chewed up a few more Oxycontin and continued on to say that the Eagles star was overrated by the press because, “they wanted to see a black man succeed.”
Affirmative action is loosely defined as “an active effort to promote the rights and opportunities of the disadvantaged.” The first recorded instance occurred in ancient Egypt when women were granted the right to become professional scribes.
In the late 1960s affirmative action was dignified by the enactment of several laws designed to legislate equality through social engineering. It was an experiment in something that had never been tried before.
Fifty years later, the pendulum has come full swing and we are dismantling affirmative action. If the move to end it succeeds, preferential treatment based on race, creed, sex, or color will no longer be assured by law. At a grass roots level, we are already witnessing the change.
Let me give you an example from our very own local grocery store whose name will not be mentioned here. This is the only Safe Way to protect our newspaper family from a big fat lawsuit.
One whole, 70-foot long aisle in this nameless Fraser supermarket is devoted to animals. But not all animals. There were cases of Beef-Flavored Snausages sitting not far from rows of Crispy Beef Flavored Thirsty Dog. Thirsty dog is cow-flavored seltzer water for man’s best buddy.
Along that same aisle I found dog shampoo and creme rinse, puppy shampoo, and hypo allergenic dandruff shampoo for cats. I found pet pedicure kits, WeeWee Pads for puppies, cat vitamins, five different stuffed mousies for the kitty and chlorophyll (not chloroform) scented gerbil litter.
I saw flea collars, leashes and brushes, three different types of rabbit food, and Garden Vegetable Blend parakeet feed. I found dog food for old dogs, lazy dogs, young dogs, fat dogs and just right dogs. I found Yum Yum Cat Treats, Tangy Fish Flavored Thirsty Cat, gerbil treats, and gravy flavored dog bones, which I presume were not really bones of a dog.
Out of all this astonishing display at the nameless market there was only a scant three inches of shelf space devoted to fish items. There sat one lone product: Fish Food. Total discrimination. I looked twice and I looked again. There were no fish toys, collars, treats, or shampoos. Nothing.
No Cat Flavored Thirsty Fish, no Yum-Yum Guppy treats, no fish vitamins or gill conditioner. It was like they were trying to close the door on fish rights after years of struggle for equality by finny heroes like Willy and Shamu, Charley Tuna and Flipper. It’s comforting to think that they’re probably right here on the shelf in front of me.
Since I was already in the middle of the nameless market, I thought, what the heck, and bought a couple of party packs of Snausages-in-a-blanket. Then I went home and arranged them neatly on a platter, turned on the Rockies game and put the tray in the middle of the floor so I could pretend that my dogs were my beer-drinking buddies. The maddened Snausage fight that ensued was so thunderous and chaotic that my wife roared out from the other room, “WHAT IN THE MILD EXPLETIVE IS GOING ON OUT THERE?”
So much for affirmative action.