Is it over for Rover?
That may be the subject of the next ‘Great Debate.’
In June of 2008, super-citizen and local activist Paul Rifkin organized the first Great Debate, a democratic donnybrook that invited citizens to listen to varied opinions on the Iraq War. Before a packed house in the Hermann Meeting Room at the Falmouth Public Library, debaters Ross Bluestein, a Falmouth attorney and frequent contributor of letters to the editor on the subject, and the scribe of this column, took positions and answered questions from an engaged citizenry on the efficacy and public policy issues behind that conflict.
As the debate kicked off, Paul, whose commitment to peaceful discourse is nearly legendary and is bolstered by his recent recognition as the newly minted Citizen of the Year in Waquoit, introduced the panelists and noted that his objective was to ‘create a dialogue.’ His mission was most assuredly accomplished. No matter your thoughts on the Iraq War, the ability for citizens to convene and peacefully debate a matter of pressing public import was recognized by all in attendance as the victory of the evening.
Well, Ross, the time has come to convene and debate another issue of pressing public import. I’ve reached out to Paul and he’s ready to moderate and produce another public example of democracy in action. This time, however, the subject is far more local. Paul has already coined a catchy phrase to lure people back to the Library to further stimulate their noggins: “The Great Debate Part II – Is it Over for Rover?”
Rover, of course, is the amazingly life-like, ceramic black lab that has welcomed walkers and bikers on the Shining Sea Bikeway for some time now. Rover’s owner is none other than the inimitable great debater, Ross. In a report in last week’s Enterprise, Ross lamented recent the recent theft of Rover and vandalism that left him injured, perhaps beyond repair. “Alas, he is no longer,” the grieving barrister noted. In true Ross Bluestein fashion, though, he may have been a touch of dramatic intent in his expertly crafted message. Later in the report, Ross noted that a fix may exist. His family’s other dog, who is actually a living and breathing canine, could act as a surrogate, offering his legs to be molded out of plaster and fitted on Rover. The quick-thinking if not excitable Ross seems to contradict himself a bit. In the iconic words of the Six Million Dollar Man, “We have the technology. We can rebuild him.”
We’ve put a man on the moon. We can send messages across the planet in seconds. We live adjacent to one of the world’s hubs of scientific research. Some of society’s greatest scientific and creative minds are within our midst. Surely, we can collectively come up with a solution for Rover.
Donna and I walked the bike path along the Cape Cod Canal last weekend. With its sweeping views and vistas, it is most certainly a jewel of Cape Cod. People come from all around to enjoy the invigorating experience of refreshing exercise while watching the boats and tides grapple with one another. On our journey to far away Bourne, we shared a hello with many locals, including State Rep. Dave Vieira, and even took a detour and walked over the Sagamore Bridge, just to say we had done it. We did. It was a great day. However, the environs of our bikepath’s cousin to the north feature the concrete behemoth of the Canal Electric plant, the bustle of nearby traffic, and several industrial sights and sites. Even the beauty of the Cape Cod Canal can’t compete with the breathtaking panorama of the Great Sippewissett Marsh, the tranquility of Bourne’s Farm, the visual treat of Vineyard Sound, and the consummate beauty of the terminus in Woods Hole. The Shining Sea Bikeway has an unparalleled character, charm and splendor. Rover was part of that. The experience of enjoying an important tile in the mosaic of our community is now just a little less stupendous without him.
So, Ross, here’s the deal: We’ll debate whether or not we should undertake the effort and expense to rebuild Rover with the same vim and vigor of our previous pithy verbal skirmish. If I prevail, Paul has offered to help organize a fundraiser to help defray the costs of a bionic bikepath doggie.
It’s not over for Rover. Ross, what say you?