Candidate Einstein at the Occupy Oakland General Assembly

Oakland's Canine Candidate
by Daniel Borgström

Nov 2, 2014 -- Occupy Oakland held a General Assembly this afternoon at the Oscar Grant Plaza as it still does every week. On the agenda were several items, including whether to endorse a candidate for Mayor in Oakland.

A quorum of 70 people is needed for any formal decision from a GA; but there were only about 23 in attendance -- actually 24 if you count Einstein the dog, who, though not human, is nevertheless a candidate for mayor and has in the course of his election campaign achieved celebrity status. He quite regularly gets his name and picture in the newspapers. So, human or not, I guess it would be improper to exclude him from the count. There are some 15 or 20 candidates running for the office of mayor in Oakland; Einstein is the only dog in the race, and also the only candidate to attend this event. On his arrival he was greeted with applause and shouts of "Einstein for Mayor!"

The session began at 4:15 p.m. with John Torok facilitating. We discussed the idea of endorsing a candidate. Several people spoke, reminding us of the Occupy Oakland tradition of not becoming involved in elections. Everyone who spoke felt it important to honor Occupy Oakland tradition on that point. No candidate was discussed or even considered -- except for Einstein the dog. Several speakers expressed an inclination to make an exception for the canine and give him an endorsement; that seemed to be the sentiment of the assembly. Of course there was no vote or formal decision on that because we lacked a quorum.

The candidate stood there, politely though somewhat impatiently, hearing the speakers, then expressed a profound woof and dashed off on a brief sprint around the amphitheater. It seemed to be his canine way of indicating that he was ready to get back on the campaign trail.

He was certainly bounding with energy, and did not seem unduly distraught over the lack of a formal endorsement from the assembly. Or, at least he did not show it -- I do suppose an astute politician needs to put a good face on things.

I was favorably impressed by this political canine. He's a friendly, outgoing dog, a modest personality who has not allowed fame to go to his head. Clearly not ego driven as are so many public figures. I felt assured that his campaign staff were right in saying, "He's a very good dog; he'll be a very good mayor."

Nevertheless I must confess to having a serious reservation about this candidate. That is, being a friend of the feline species, I couldn't help wondering if he chases cats. I didn't ask. I felt this was not the time to be asking hard questions.

November 2, 2014