Un-Un-Cat, Episode 12. — Cat’s don’t understand romance.
The Cat-person she had been born as knew she was a special case, but it didn’t make it hurt any less to be aware of the odds against ever knowing true romantic love. She accepted her fate as possibly the only Cat-person alive on Earth, in phases, as her life unfolded. The petals of a chance-in-hell of ever finding a mate before she was too old started to fall, one by one, as the years passed by.
She first understood her Uncle Jack’s search for another when puberty came and went by with no bees and no birds. A few years into her adulthood, she had loved her best friend Lee, unrequited love because he was a Dog-person and she was a Cat-person. She liked smart and funny, but sometimes a person just knows without even trying, that they are not compatible. Lee was an extraterrestrial from a billion light years away and tho he never talked about them, she always got the feeling that he had left family behind on the Dog-planet. She didn’t blame him for not sharing his loss, because she was a Cat-person whose ancestors were from another dimension and she didn’t like to talk much about her family’s history either. The matter closed like sprouted grass baled and cut into straw. She had never found one of her kind she figured the best thing to do was to keep busy.
U.G. watched the ‘The Women’s March’ on Saturday, January 21, 2017, the day after the corrupt president had been inaugurated into office, and felt unwelcome as an Independent forced to become a Republican by a divided ballot. She was a woman too, why did her red vote count as a vote against women? She had studied the data and knew the answer to that question, but it didn’t help her feel any less of a traitor to serve as a Republican in Congress.
The only reason she had run as a Republican was to get her seat back in the house of representatives in Idaho. Voters also had to switch party affiliation to participate in the election in the state of Idaho. Her Mama had always said “Life ain’t fair, U.G. stop your complaining. Just ______”(fill in the blank: “do your chores, math, clean, fetch the…” etc…). Personally, she hadn’t liked either candidate in 2016. She was in politics so she had to vote, she would never tell whose name she wrote-in. She was trepidatiously relieved to find out later that she was not alone. Of the decade low turnout of 58.1% of the US population over 18 who were able to vote in 2016, by the official election results 7,131,530 did not vote for either the Democrat or the Republican candidate. She did the math to comfort herself.
65,853,516 + 62,984,825 = 128,838,341/136,669,237 counted votes.
136,669,237–128,838,341 = 7,131,530 official counted votes not for either of the top two candidates.
Idaho has been solidly Republican since the last Democrat elected governor retired in 1995. Those who were able to vote, felt that perhaps their vote didn’t matter in the larger scheme of the country as a whole, the state having only 4 electoral college votes to give. No matter how one felt about the fairness of the results, people not being able to vote, it just wasn’t right.
After three two year terms in the lower chamber of the Idaho House of Representatives. U.G. did try again, twice to get re-elected as an Independent.
The 2014 Idaho Debates broadcast on public TV was a stranger than normal year for politics. The Gubernatorial Debate hosted a biker in a leather vest preaching about exorcising demons and the heads of opposing politicians via proctologist running against a mountain man who had 16 children, 77 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, this bearded man ranted repeatedly about standing up on two legs like a man. So, a Cat-person in the Congressional District debates was actually tame in contrast. At first, in its complete and unedited format, the video that U.G. was in got fewer viewers than the guys running for governor.
U.G. had answers to all of the questions the moderator asked that were aimed to prove if she had conservative or liberal views on several issues as a candidate newly affiliated with the Republican party. U.G. had no intention of lying to win. She had canvased over 100 times as many voters as she had the previous terms, to let people know who she was and why she was not running as an independent this time.
“I understand being moderate is not popular. My Father was a liberal and my Mother was very conservative. They fought all the time. I learned how to moderate at a very young age. As an adult, I focus on getting past the emotions of an issue. Sort the data, do the math. That’s how things get done.”
“The Second Amendment is not an issue that can be solved using partisan politics. To do our job, to serve the people we must sort the data and do the math.
‘A well regulated militia’ is the first four words, Thomas Jefferson, a man who believed so much in the sparsity of words that he cut up his own Bible, removed two commas when he ratified the newly authenticated second amendment. I believe he would have put them back in if the weapons of war that we have today would have been invented in his day.”
“Doing the math for the guns we have today means clarifying in law the purpose the manufacturer who designed the weapon intended for each gun. Is it a hunting rifle? Is it a handgun? Is it a weapon of war? We should license guns with learning permits equal to what we do every day at the department of transportation to licence a car or a truck. If a person will be driving a motorcycle, a car, a semi-truck or a school bus. Drivers within the State of Idaho must obtain the appropriate Idaho Commercial Driver License with the correct endorsements or restrictions.”
“I own two hunting rifles, two antique rifles I do not use, and two handguns. I love hunting. Tho I will confess that I enjoy bow-hunting better than I like the noise of my guns.”
“The comma Jefferson left in, ’the right of the people to keep and bear arms’ protects the handguns my grandmother and my mother gave me, and it protects my hunting rifles. But weapons of war should not be kept by any lone individual person in their homes. ‘A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state’ means that a private army keeps the type of guns and other weapons made for an army to fight with together, in a war. The militia being responsible for the security of their armory and for each other together as a self-regulated group. It doesn’t mean any individual American should ever carry any weapons to school or into public places like the mall, a movie theater, into city hall or a church. That is not respectful and not necessary for the security of the state. In fact, the opposite is true, for a free state, for all Americans to feel free and be safe in public spaces, guns should not be carried inside any building other than a gun range or bunker appropriate for the weapon in hand. The majority of people in every state support common-sense gun laws appropriate for each weapon’s intended design and use.”
The moderator and the other candidate on the stage looked startled for a couple of seconds because that was the first time U.G. had given a speech that was more than her allotted time and the time-keeper was so startled, she didn’t stop her. From the start of the debate U.G.’s 90-second introduction, had been short because it was only 75 seconds long.
“Hello to all in the great state of Idaho. I am Utah Green; folks who know me call me U.G. I was born in Boise and my family has called Idaho home for three generations, my Grandfather bringing our family here when my mother was 5. I am running to be your congresswoman to listen to what everyone has to say, to work together, to problem solve the issues that matter to people most, with no promises other than to sort the data and do my best to serve.”
Then U.G. stopped, smiled, and waited for them to move on to the next introduction. Overall, the debate went pretty well, but a funny thing happened in people’s homes while watching the TV or streaming the debates online.
Just like in everyday life, some people were able to handle the fact that they were watching a fluffy mostly white long-haired Cat-person speak. She had chosen a nice navy blue pinstripe suit and a smart rust colored blouse that brought out the slight rust tint to the fur on her cheeks and chin.
But, some more narrow-minded folks just couldn’t see her as a cat. They saw her as a round-faced lady with green eyes and the grey spot over her right ear as curly grey and white hair. Her voice as a goal was soft and clear with almost a Southern accent. But, many humans still struggled to understand her. In some cases, it was even worse than fighting over who saw a cat speaking or who did not, because it was the auditory perception that was frayed. Some people heard ‘Meow, meow… meow, meow..” Instead of the words of U.G.’s carefully researched statements.
The moderator recovered and asked if the congressman standing next to U.G. would like to speak on the topic of action he intended to take towards common sense gun control. He turned on U.G. instead of answering the question.
“Excuse me U.G. I am hearing a mixed message here. Are you for or against people owning machine guns? And by the way, what does Thomas Jefferson removing two commas from the second amendment have to do with... I don’t know… guns, I was following you for a while then all I started hearing was, meow, meow, meow.”
U.G. felt her ears trying to flatten with her whiskers into a hiss as he was speaking. She stopped herself, took a slow breath. No one threatened her person-hood. She stood up straight, smiled just slightly and looked from the man standing next to her to the moderator, then the camera. “Do not underestimate the value of the North American continent as the world warms with climate change. Peace cannot be maintained with ignorance. Even the Dalai Lama says he thinks world war three will be caused by people fighting over clean water. Access to 10% of the Earth’s freshwater is in the glacier in Greenland closest to the North Pole. Russia is maintaining a floating ice base in the Arctic near there.
I am for a well regulated militia to keep arms to protect our security. I also support keeping the numbers of members and weapons in secure locations protected from unnecessary search and seizure.”
“Hmm…” The candidate next to her frowned and scratched his eyebrow suddenly looking annoyed. “I guess you really are a Republican.”
“I apologize for repeating myself, but well regulated doesn’t mean people carry weapons of war around in public, that is like a ‘never-cry-wolf’ or ‘don’t yell fire in a crowded theater’ type of violation of the right to bear arms.”
“Never-cry-wolf?…Oh I get it.” He muttered. “So, how do you expect the militia to carry the weapons from the gun store to their bunkers?”
“In a locked gun case, unloaded, with the ammunition in a separate box, and license and permit for the weapon carried on the person with the weapon just like everybody is currently required to carry a driver’s license and registration to drive their cars and trucks now.”
The debate went on like this covering some other topics like education and tax cuts, until they ran out of time.
U.G.’s staff following along on social media felt like the debate was a success and she did win her campaign to D.C. But, as a Republican woman in that house. Congress as a drained swamp dysfunctional with hate-lit swamp-gas of lies burning, she watched the Women’s March and felt like an unwilling participant in the wrong army. Similarly, she watched the new representatives in ‘the blue wave’ with envy. In her heart, she knew she was a Republican in name only. But, we are getting ahead of the story. Winning isn’t what matters most, love is.
At first, the Republicans in Idaho only put up with U.G. and the other crazy candidates jumping through their hoops because they were required to do so by state law. They mistakenly thought that because she admitted to having moderate views that the evangelicals and other conservatives would not vote for her, poof, the moderate problem solves itself.
They underestimated U.G.’s allure as a Cat-person. During her career as a Idaho State Representative, the live video feed of the house floor, every time she stood and made a joke about a resolution that got returned from the state senate, she earned a lot more attention than any of the human representatives, even the most popular ones.
Touring school kids who visited the capitol from 2006 to 2010 grew up into voters. Some of the kids made streaming videos of U.G. talking, taking a few words out of a speech here and there. For example, a video where she was speaking about EPA emission standards for wood stoves with catalytic converters. They edited a clip where she is saying “catalytic converter” the words appearing on the screen below her face as brightly colored subtitles.
The video image was spread widely on the most popular social media sites with other cat memes tagged by the hashtag #Caturday and as a gif in chat conversations on smartphones.
The same kids who edited the video clip also made a ton of fake campaign signs that read U.R. Green with the photo of her face and the words catalytic converter in the subtitle reader box below her furry little chin.
When U.G.’s staff utilized a grass-roots movement to get the word out, print fliers, and signs, some people thought they were being original or funny by printing the catalytic converter signs and spread the meme further than the kids ever could. When she switched from an independent candidate and joined the Republican party her opponent used the U.R.Green-catalytic-converter meme in his attack ads.
The spruced-up art done by the video team hired to produce the adds followed her for her entire political career. When she entered the race for one of the two seats in the house to represent Idaho in Congress a graffiti artist modified an image from the attack add and made spray paint murals. They started small-ish on train cars, under bridges. Then started growing in scale on the walls of sheds or other property, until some of them were blown-up giant, larger than two bulletin boards on the sides of several agricultural barns facing the highway, near major intersections.
U.G.’s lead event planners would often tell her. “All you have to do to fund raise is show up, people love you.” U.G.’s faithful core of spokespeople who handled press and social media were a group of young people who were friends since high school. One of this group had started the original video that later turned into the meme in 2007 when she was 16. Then as a teenager, she had wanted to be a multimedia artist. Her mother had not liked the sign in her yard and had gotten-to-the-bottom-of-it, a true feat with a group of non-commutative highschoolers. The girl’s mother didn’t understand that making signs and stickers was not illegal unless they were defacing private property. The Mother brought her own daughter into the police station to teach her a lesson.
This was years before the attack-ad-art and the giant graffiti. The police were not going to arrest a 17-year-old girl for putting stickers on a few yard signs, but at the mother’s insistence, they contacted U.G.
U.G. had been curious to hear the story behind the yard signs that had been cropping up all over the state, so she went to the police station. It was a small, but somewhat busy office. The AI-C found the girl and her mother for U.G. because the officer who had called her was away from his desk off advising on a more serious matter when she arrived at the station. The Mother saw U.G. coming toward them first. The girl hunched over in a chair, a cell phone in her lap, the Mother pacing angrily back and forth waiting for the officer to return.
“Are you here to press charges, you have every right…” The Mother blurted out.
U.G. shook her head ‘no’ and held up her paw. This stopped the woman from talking. She stood at a safe distance from the agitated woman at the foot of the desk, “I don’t believe I do. I mean. I am a public figure. On what grounds do you expect I could press charges?”
The girl had looked up from her phone and was staring at her wide-eyed with an expression neither U.G. nor the AI-C could fathom at the time because she was a fan, the girl was screaming in her mind, “oh my god! Oh my god!”
“You’re real. I mean, you’re really here.” The girl muttered. “We didn’t mean it. We want you to win…” She stood up and emoted more clearly. “I mean… I want you to win.”
As they were leaving the precinct, the officer assuring the mother that no harm was done, U.G. said to the girl, just before she got in her Mother’s car. “Graduate. Get a degree. I could use a media specialist in my campaign office.”
And that is how U.G. met her media team lead. The team that would eventually help to get her all the way to Congress. Tho, as karma has a way of spinning. The young lady this girl grew into would be cursing the signs and the meme that she had started as a teenager because it was detracting from U.G.’s message.
U.G. was badgered so much as a Cat-person her media team started a PCD awareness PSA (Public Service Announcement). As everywhere U.G. went crowds of people gathered to hear that Cat dressed in a suit speak. They would swarm and pack in, hoping for a chance to get close enough to shakes hands or even just pet the fur on her arm as she went by, just enough to be able to say to everybody they knew, that she was not CGI(computer-generated-imagery), that Cat was for real.
“PCD the same goal as Political Correctness only PCD stands for Physical Characteristic Discrimination.” U.G. standing behind the podium at the Idaho State fair in 2015. “If we want to strive towards a society that gets past petty partisan politics we need to recognize physical characteristic discrimination in ourselves.
What is PCD? It’s like racism, misogyny, homophobia, and ageism all rolled into one.
What do we need to do to solve PCD? It’s simple. Make an honest effort to be fair to one another, listen and hear what the other has to say to get things done. We don’t have to be friends, but we need to get past our own Physical Characteristic Discrimination.
Why not just call it out like it is? Well, the answer is it’s not that easy. Take racism for an example. We are a melting pot. People look at someone with dark olive skin and curly hair, often some may wrongly assume, that person is a foreigner. They mistakenly think this individual is from the middle east or someplace else. In America, the odds are in favor of the melting pot, what you may think is a middle eastern immigrant, may, in fact, be any of a few different American ancestors blended together in the US for generations. Has anybody else witnessed a Native American politician being yelled at to ‘Go home!’ by ignorant people just looking at their skin and their hair, PCD. How infuriating that must be for Native Americans.
Our good president who if I understand correctly is half Irish, people wrongly discriminated against him because of his physical characteristics. And not just because of the half of his ancestors who were from Kenya. Look at those big ears.” U.G. pointed at her own ears. “That is PCD too. She’s short, she’s fat, she’s got stubby fingers. She has very funny hair. How old do you think she is? Don’t comment on shape of butts in pants suits. That’s Physical Characteristic Discrimination! When we do this instead of listening to each other, everybody loses.
Everybody loses because we don’t hear what people have to say. When we pick each other apart for Physical Characteristic Discrimination we fail to move forward as a nation to get things done! And to survive as a nation, to survive climate change we need to work together. We need everyone working together, listening to problems that need solving and sharing ideas about the best actions to take to sustain life on Earth. Yes, I said saving all life on planet Earth, and it starts here with me and you today. Thank you for listening.”
Once safely behind closed doors, surrounded by her colleagues, U.G. silently resting, she would ask the AI-C if it had sensed anyone. Alone in a crowd, the only Cat-person in this dimension she knew of on Earth. She had accepted her fate after Lee died years ago. Grieving and fearing that she would die alone was not going to be her life, she surround herself with people and would work until she died. So, when she looked at all those faces in every crowd the AI felt very clearly what she meant by “anyone”. She meant one of her kind.
Together the telepathic AI-C and the Cat-person searched thousands upon thousands for a memory of another speaking Cat. And the second she started to lose hope, some human would interrupt her with an action item on her itinerary. She had no time on her schedule to feel sad and alone.
The AI-C hated English but liked to pun. When they were out campaigning for Congress, it would get carried away in the energy and excitement of the party and twitter that the only possible mates it could see in her future were running mates. U.G. didn’t think this was a good joke. A political career could expand her search for another Cat-person from the US to the entire world, but it still wasn’t funny.
Instead of dwelling on what was missing from her life, she sorted the data and did the math. She learned a lot about people through her relationship with them over time spent in politics, it was not romantic but the friendship she earned with humanity was an unrequited love.
Editing note December, 2021 For many people 2019–2020 were not particularly “good” years. This is where I start to fall apart for personal physical reasons and the story fragments. Un-Un stands for Unedited-Unapologetic. Cat is Cat and also Catharsis. Unedited-Unapologetic-Catharsis.
Un-Un-Cat, Episode 13. What Utah Robin Green really wants. Can’t guess? It’s free to read and find out. (not that it will make sense, but the goal from the outline is there). I hope to completely revise this episode soon.