A guard dog, not a guard dog

A guard dog, not a guard dog

“The hen must lay eggs, the cow must give milk, the canary must sing. But the dog makes his living by giving you nothing but love,” wrote Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People. This celebrated author of some of the best books ever written and a pioneer in public speaking programs knew two things about man’s best friend that most people didn’t: all dogs love their owners to the grave; not all dogs show it by barking at strangers. The first is easy, the second defies standard assumptions. Basenjis, Greyhounds, and Newfoundlands are examples of non-barking working breeds. Often their owners take care of small breeds that do not prefer vocal harassment. Yet they eat, see the vet and still earn a lot of care for their loyalty. Think of them as a watch dog.

Likewise, society seems to have evolved to look up to cool guys. The whistleblower, the morally righteous, and the pulpit minister now get attention for what they say or do. In the past, it was the minister’s duty to watch our lapses and call us out when we were wrong. Unfortunately, he became the watched dog. The table turned. Our sense of worth is edited, or worse, erased. The good has eroded and the quality has been reversed. We’d rather celebrate the one who relishes the murky waters as long as he can throw us something to brighten up our colorful thirty-two. Simply put, we have no more shame than a four-legged dog that does not earn its food.

Shameless as we have become, there must remain a remnant breed. We need to breed German Shepherds, strong and brave watchdogs who can scan the horizon and chase history without fear. We need to breed Rottweilers, brave and hearty guard dogs that can block the evils of society with one bite. The gentleman in a pair of trousers and the lady in smart jeans on the dirt road of truth, scribbling with a pen for a chance to fix the ills of the community, must find their way back. Journalism – objective, investigative and reformist coverage – must return to the tabloids, the screen and cyberspace. We need men and women who understand that the chickens we fear are scared to death, so that we can understand how cowardly they are. Only those who rarely master the world of words can cut through the maze that corruption and bad leadership have planted in our soil to feed our children. Young people can be taught to understand that this nation and its wealth belong to them. Our little ones must learn that honesty and hope in these darkest nights must shine in the corners of the human conscience. Tomorrow begins when the people are told the truth through the eyes of a watchdog that has found a way to evade surveillance.

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