Men?

I don’t deal with many men these days. I have no husband, brother, dad, son. When I left teaching I also left behind the good ol’ boys who had power over my life and the young’uns that were my students. There are a couple of men in the co-op but otherwise it’s just pretty much Dusty T. Dog, my friend’s husband and sons and a friend or two in another town. That’s fine with me. Sorry, fellas, but you’re an inscrutable breed and I’m happy to give you a wide berth at this point in my life. I’m sure it’s mutual.

I’ve never considered myself a “man hater.” Things just never worked out well between me and men, not in the love department and not in the professional world. I never understood why until my ultimate and most recent lover explained it to me. I don’t want to share that explanation so suffice it that it made sense; I had seen it play out over and over. I am seriously very grateful to, uh, we’ll call him Rocky T. Mulhawk for that.

But…

A month or so ago I went to City Council and proposed an amendment to the city ordinance for dogs. The goal was to make it illegal to tether dogs inhumanely. I began my talk with the statement, “I’m not trying to make tethering dogs illegal. This is a proposal to establish boundaries for humane tethering.”

The proposal — which the city officials and the city council had had for a month before THAT — said in the very beginning, “This proposed amendment does not seek to make tethering dogs illegal. I understand that there are dogs who have to be tethered for their own safety…”

Last week there was an article in the local paper about my presentation at the City Council and the article began with, “…Kennedy does not seek to make tethering dogs illegal.”

That point was clearly made. And definitively.

So, nothing happened. I gave it three weeks, then, finally, sensing that I’d been “shined on” by the “powers” I contacted my city council member and made noise on Facebook.

It is the modern world after all.

The council member (who’s a great guy) pushed the city manager who arranged a meeting between me, the city attorney and the police chief. That happened yesterday. The meeting began with the City Manager saying, “I understand you want to make dog tethering illegal.”

I was furious, but self-contained.

So here were three old white guys (and, until yesterday, I DIDN’T share that “old white guy” thing, but now I’m considering there might be something to it) making sure I KNEW they had not read what I’d written and had not listened to me. The unspoken message was, “We’re only here because the city council member forced this. Your little proposal is completely irrelevant to us and our serious business as The Powers, and, frankly, we’re annoyed we’ve been compelled even to deal with this.”

Knowing that I was there to win, that anger wouldn’t help me, and that I’d written something I COULD win, I just said, “No, not at all. Making tethering illegal is not practical and it would be unfair. I just want to see something done to establish what constitutes human tethering. I have two goals — first to educate the public and second to give law enforcement a toe-hold to cite someone who’s tethering their dog inhumanely.” I’d already read the code for my city; I knew it said a lot about animal abuse, but I believed it needed to provide for a situation in which an owner wasn’t intentionally abusing their dog by tying it out, but the result was that the dog suffered.

What had I written? I wrote a very detailed proposed amendment to the City Code that was 90% negotiable points. I knew what the powers would do with it, and they did exactly what I expected. I did my best to be cooperative, open-minded and friendly through the whole ordeal. The discussion went as I expected and the page and a half is now about 10 lines. They pushed it to the city council meeting in two weeks (there’s one tomorrow) because of the time it would take to write those few lines. Two weeks of cold and snow in which some dogs are now living chained to trees.

When this was over no one said, “We’re all done, Martha. Thanks.” No one stood up when I left or even said good-bye. I felt absolutely disrespected and, yeah, negated.

Confusing all of this is that it was clear to me that all three of them are nice guys and that, somehow, I made them feel awkward. I can imagine that in a different situation we would have seen each other differently. I wouldn’t have had my hackles provoked immediately or felt minimized. As the meeting wore on, I think I made my point and the police chief had good ideas about educating the public and the city attorney told about his dog and how much he loved him and the city manager kept the meeting on track. But the first few minutes had set the tone and it was almost impossible to turn that around.

I don’t want to generalize, but it’s very hard not to. I just wonder what the deal is? This is a battle I’ve fought all my life. I heard from my Aunt Martha about how hard it is to “make it in a man’s world.” I had a former colleague say, “You wouldn’t like Japan. It’s a man’s world.” I’ve heard men complain about women and their “game playing” but if that wasn’t game playing yesterday what was it?

As for the outcome of my small effort to change a minor bit of city code in a TINY city. I have never tried to do anything like this in my life, single-handedly, anyway. I had a big effect on establishing a large urban wilderness park in San Diego, but that had, by the time I joined in, a powerful infrastructure behind it. This is just a tiny law that needs — should not need — an army. I will not know until it actually DOES appear on the city council agenda and the city council votes on it.

Meanwhile I have to see, again, that it really doesn’t make any difference what I say; people will hear, read, only what they expect.

 

12 thoughts on “Men?

  1. And does this surprise you? Because that seems to be the way small towns operate. Ours certainly does. If you aren’t part of the club, nothing you say or do is going to make any difference. None at all. They only listen to each other … and themselves.

  2. I didn’t start out as an old white man, I was having fun and suddenly I looked in the mirror and there he was. I was suddenly a member of the most hated demographic on the planet, and I’d done nothing–but survive (which I didn’t think I’d do). Then I looked around and noticed I’d embraced several characteristics that clearly marked me as an old fart: drives an old pickup, lives alone, doesn’t like anybody but his dog, would rather go fishing. and I said, “Ahhh, I have arrived.”

    • In my little world, you do not fall into the category, in fact, I generally disdain the category and no one fit into it until the other night. Then I got a glimpse of what people mean when they use that (overall unconscionable) generalization. I guess I’m your female equivalent. I’d rather hang out with my dogs than with most people, and I’d rather paint, write, hike or travel. Don’t have an old truck, though. I have had them and I miss them still.

      • We’re all victims of media exploitation. If you’re an old white guy, you must be angry, watch Fox News, think Ronald Reagan was the second coming, and wait for Rush Limbaugh to tell you what to think. They’ve stolen all my press. I’m too far off the grid for anybody to take the trouble to find out what I think. It’s easier to just plug me into their prefabbed category. My dog likes me though. 🙂

      • You’re right. I’m a white-haired feminist liberal busy-body from California who wants to Californicate their (half-dead) town by asking for an ordinance to make inhumane tethering of dogs a minor crime.

      • Love it. Funny how the evil women are one thing and the evil men something else, you fascist gunslinging anarchist from hell. As always, Screeching Moonbatt

  3. They are damn buzzards and those guys knew exactly what they were doing to you. It is the fact that your idea of chaining a dog in an inhumane manner did not come from a man. Yea they are some of those “good ole white boys.” I know just what your talking about. I really do hope the law is changed for the betterment of the dogs.

    • It didn’t end there. The city council met yesterday and the ordinance was supposed to be distributed as an information item for the next meeting, Feb. 18.

      About 20 minutes before the city council meeting I got an email from the city attorney’s secretary apologizing for not sending me the draft ordinance sooner but she “just found” my email. BUT the email was FROM HIM but signed with his secretary’s name. I’m not so stupid that I don’t look at the email address ITSELF.

      Besides that, 1) I wrote my email ON the city attorney’s NOTES so if he/she had the notes, he/she had my email; 2) the version of the ordinance he/she send me contained things we’d taken OUT; 3) By sending it at that time he/she was gambling on my not being online, but I WAS online; 4) he/she had sent it to the city manager and the police chief THE DAY BEFORE.

      SO…I corrected it and sent it back not to the secretary but to the city attorney who said he’d take it to the city council. Godnose what really happened.

      I don’t think it will matter at all if the law is changed. If the police chief is not behind it, it will not be enforced no matter who calls in and complains.

      I’m disgusted beyond expression. I’d put my house up for sale, but no one would buy it because no one wants to live here. THAT’S what they should think about. Why doesn’t anyone want to live here? There’s nothing wrong with this town except that out of every five buildings down town 4 are empty.

      Stupid, arrogant, corrupt old white guys. And ONE of them drives by that dog EVERY SINGLE DAY and said in the meeting that it was “horrible to see him tied up like that.” The effin cop shop is 1 block away.

      I hate them. 🙂

      • Yep. No backbone. All they ever had to say to me was, “No thanks. Our current ordinance covers it. Thanks for caring about the dogs!” And lazy — you got that right. It takes effort, enthusiasm and courage to change something.

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