By David Jonas
In this fine country of ours, we often band around the idea that animals are magically instilled with so-called rights, which currently, to the best of my understanding, means the occasional punishment for humans who torture animals and get tattled on by an investigative news expose. I find this notion to be childish, and to a great degree, counterproductive, considering our dear Vice President is pro-torture and that’s for actual human beings. This hypocrisy makes it very difficult for me to ethically trap squirrels and eat their flesh without feeling like a gigantic pussy when compared to Mr. Cheney. We need to get off the fence on this issue altogether as a nation. Either we imbue animals with every right we Americans possess, or we make them feel excruciating pain for solely trivial reasons. There are no other options. Naturally, we want animals to think we’re committed to democracy, and I’ve read countless studies that say animal insurgency is caused by a lack of confidence in representative government. If they hate our freedoms so much, let’s give ’em some of ours! I mean, how could democracy ever backfire?!The first step to such a proposal is to create a working definition for what constitutes an animal. We don’t want to throw insects into the mix, as they will make it difficult to form an accurate census every 10 years. Reptiles are equally useless; they’re cold-blooded and unfit to serve in the army in case there’s a draft and we need to invade Greenland. And I’m going to have to nix the birds because that flu of theirs is coming, and we’re short on vaccine as it is. Heck, let’s just cut out everyone that’s not a mammal. Except for the delicious ones. We don’t want them playing the genocide/war crimes angle on us if given the chance to control the courts.By my count, that leaves dolphins, whales, and primates that are too stringy. I know some of you will disagree with this, but if you’ve ever eaten a cat, it ain’t half bad. So let’s run down how these lucky chosen figure into the mix of things:1st Amendment- All three animals have no problem expressing themselves freely either through cute squeaky noises, sign language, or hurling feces. And if the movie “All Dogs Go To Heaven” is any indication, each species is already Christian and destined for an animal-specific, segregated afterlife, allowing them to fit nicely into the nation’s current religious discourse. Freedom of press shouldn’t be a problem either, because dolphins enjoy writing and reading about celebrities and their embarrassing antics as much as we humans do. 2nd Amendment- At first I had trepidation about giving dolphins and whales the right to own a gun considering they don’t possess opposable digits, but I guess quadriplegics can own guns too, so what the hell.8th Amendment- With torture no longer legal, the cruel and unusual punishment exception to punishment will only apply when the animals commit a capital crime, unless they’re mentally deficient, thank you very much Supreme Court.10th Amendment- The issue of Constitutional delegation of state and federal power is an issue too complex to be understood by animals, as well as 98% of Americans. And finally, we come to the great task of insuring the right to vote, that great cornerstone of democracy, fourth-grade student-body elections, and Project Runway. Naturally, there are concerns that the exact intent of these animals will be difficult to ascertain, but once we get the animals into a voting booth, it will only be a matter of time before one party or the other nullifies those votes by some legal procedure, making these animals, officially and truly, members of the American democratic process.