Yesterday I signed off with: Tomorrow: I can see your house. Literally.

Well, it’s true, but it will have to wait until next year – a few more days for you to tidy up the lawn or shovel the driveway (curtains would be nice: I can see them from your street) – because today’s column being the last of the year, I’ve decided to write about something bigger.

NOT WHAT YOU EXPECT ME TO SAY ABOUT GOLDEN RETRIEVERS

If you are of a certain age, you expect me to evoke the iconic National Lampoon cover – ‘buy this magazine or we’ll shoot this dog’ (or in this case, ‘contribute to the Democrats or I’ll shoot this dog’) – and you may even be sufficiently keen of memory to correct me with whatever breed of dog it actually was.

But I hold no puppy hostage.

Rather, I want to suggest that the entire golden retriever SPECIES is at stake in the election 312 days from now because — after 5 billion years of planetary evolution (for those of us who ‘believe’ in evolution) – I think it pretty much comes down to the next decade or two for us 7 billion humans to find a trajectory that allows us to live sustainably on our little spaceship. (When I was born, we were 2.5 billion.) Not that, if we fail, we’ll all die in a decade or two. But things could have passed the point of no return (if they haven’t already) – as they once did for the inhabitants of Easter Island, to draw a microcosmic analogy detailed in Jared Diamond’s Collapse.

The planet will still be here, and the rats will probably be here (they survived A-bomb tests), and the cockroaches will be having a good laugh (‘Remember that arrogant species that lasted five minutes and, near the end, tried to kill us with motels?’) – but not, necessarily, the humans.

Which makes me really crazy because HUMANS ARE MY ALL-TIME SECOND MOST FAVORITE SPECIES.

Golden retrievers are my first most favorite, and if WE go, there will be no one to feed them. Or – perhaps worse – make them smile. (Goldens would likely die from lack of affection before they died from lack of kibbles or bits.)

Some people are unconcerned. They don’t believe in evolution, they don’t believe our effluent could affect the climate or poison the environment – they may be cat people – or they may be looking forward to The Rapture.

But for my part, I think it would be crushing beyond words if – after the 5 billion years it took us to get to our current state of unimaginable COMFORT (we have hot water! any time we want it!), SECURITY (we have antibiotics! we have On-Star™!), and to the cusp of virtually unlimited POSSIBILITY (the pace of technological progress that puts a symphony orchestra and the entire world in our pockets is rapidly SPEEDING UP) – it would be crushing beyond words if we, as a species, blew it.

And, yes, I know that because there are an infinite number of planets there’s almost surely other intelligent life in the universe, blah, blah, blah, but (as you can tell) I’m not buying it.  Not in any practical sense that makes me care any less about our own little Earth-bound civilization.

I just think we have an ENORMOUS responsibility to the thousands of generations who came before us, shivering in caves and living in fear and fighting the wars and suffering the plagues and inquisitions to get us to this point – and an even more enormous responsibility to thousands of generations to come – NOT TO SCREW THIS UP.

Obviously, one cannot live in a constant state of panic (or melodrama), so I spend most of my time relaxed and happy, sacrificing almost not at all, enjoying the miracles of Fresh Direct-delivered apples and Apple-delivered word games.

Still, the first charge I put on my Amex in 2011 was my max-out contribution to Obama Victory Fund 2012, and the first charge I’ll post next week will be my 2012 max-out contribution, because:

  1. Nothing matters more in guiding the species to a sustainable future than who runs the show.  Just imagine how different things would have been if Gore had been president for eight years instead of Bush.  If McCain/Palin had set the agenda these last three years instead of Obama/Biden.  Or how different they will be if Romney/Bachmann, working with Rove, Scalia, Limbaugh, Boehner, Bork, and McConnell, get to set the agenda going forward.
  1. Early money – money NOW – is three to eight times more powerful to the outcome of the election than the exact same money next fall, when most people give it.  That’s because money NOW pays for organizers who have 10 months to recruit, train, and motivate volunteers.  (Money next fall – or money now to specific candidates – is mainly dumped into the ocean of necessary but marginally effective TV ads that next fall will flood the airwaves.)  From each low-paid organizer hired NOW snowball literally hundreds of volunteers.  Every week we wait is one fewer week for that volunteer snowball to grow.  And one fewer week for those volunteers to register new voters and help existing voters overcome Republican efforts to disenfranchise them.
  1. At the end of the day, whether my net worth is a few tens of thousands of dollars higher or lower – you have to think of this in terms of net worth and future earning power, not cash in the bank, none of us has cash in the bank – what difference will it make?  I am SO fortunate to be able to max out without having to skip a meal.  As sacrifices go, this sure is a lot less painful than spending the coldest winter on record – without shoes – in a hut in Valley Forge.
  1. Have you ever looked into a golden retriever’s eyes?

So that’s my pitch.  It may not move many people – even I recognize that hysteria, however justified, may not be the most effective tone to take – but the challenges are no less real for ignoring them.  If you can help, please click here.  I’ll see your support come through and smother you in thanks.

This is for all the marbles, folks.  Not just the President but, if we can register those millions of folks and get them to the polls, the House, the Senate, state legislatures (and, indirectly, the Supreme Court for what could be the next 25 years).   SPREAD THE WORD.  Support now doesn’t guarantee success, but it is by far the most leveraged way to tilt the odds toward equality.  Three to eight times more powerful than waiting.

Those of you who wish we could bring back the Bush years and cede the Koch brothers more power (and eliminate the estate tax on billionheirs) will of course want to support the Republican effort instead.  I get that.  I think you’re nuts, but I include you when I say:

Warmest wishes for a Happy, Healthy, New Year.  Drive safely!  Good night, everybody.

 

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