The question occurred to me this morning as I was getting Ella outfitted for her morning walk with Laura. (It's 5 degrees Fahrenheit here, with 16 mph winds, so even the dog gets a coat.) Here was our sweet little dog rolling on her back and making tiny grunting noises while I tried to get her harness on her, but she's also the animal who can't see her upstairs neighbor Bear without seizing his neck in her jaws and trying to put him on the ground.
Her brown eyes looked so alien flicking behind their screen of tawny fur that I suddenly found myself wondering, "My God, what if my dog is a Republican?!" I mean, who knows what her political views might be if should could express them? She's fiercely bonded to her family, of course, and tender with us, but the moment the Other shows up on her turf she's quick to put him in his place.
If Ella were a Republican, of course we would love her anyway, but she's made me wonder whether conservatism might be more a product of our biological animal natures and liberalism an expression of our civilized side. Probably not, but maybe the elephant and donkey aren't really all that distinct from each other as symbols.