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Mitt Romney and the Tale of the Dog

This is not about dogs. This is not about Mitt Romney. This is about empathy, and whether or not I have it.

In case you haven’t heard it by now (and if you haven’t, you will multiple times in the next ten months), Mitt Romney has had a story plague him for the better part of five years now. 

As far back as 2007, news organizations have been reporting on his 1983 family trip from Boston to Ontario, Canada, during which he drove with his Irish Setter Seamus crated and fastened to the roof of the car. 

Apparently, on this trip, Romney built bathroom stops into the itinerary; but despite his efforts, Seamus did his doggie duty (pun intended) down the back windshield of the car, which Mitt had to hose off. 

This “amusing anecdote” was apparently offered up by one of Romney’s sons, and apparently is not disuputed as anything but fact.   

Suffice it to say, The Dogs Against Romney facebook page now has over 10,000 likes.

Now, I am aware that some people are incensed that Romney would do such a thing. 

But I really don’t understand why.

…which I think might instantly make me a terrible person in some circles, so let me explain and you can decide for yourself.

I suppose it’s worth mentioning that I have never had a pet before, unless you count the various goldfish I had in my youth — most notably Mozart and Salieri, who I won at a fair (apparently very recently after seeing Amadeus). 

So I have never had a dog, let alone know the safety protocol for taking one on a crowded family trip. 

I see people driving with dogs on their laps all the time with the windows down, and that seems pretty unsafe to me; but apparently dog owners know something I don’t know, so I don’t reach for the cell and call the ASPCA.   

On the other hand, the last animal I saw on the roof of a moving vehicle was Teen Wolf in 1985, so I can guess that there somewhere in this situation is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. 

I just don’t know what that is supposed to tell me about Mitt Romney. 

To me, it doesn’t make him mean or a psychopath. It just makes him a lousy packer.  I’m assuming he loved his dog enough to securely fasten the crate to the roof with concern for the safety of the animal.  And I can certainly vouch that we were not as concerned about the safety of anything in 1983 as we are in 2012, because in 1983 I didn’t so much as wear a seatbelt.  So I hate to propose that two wrongs make a Right here (maybe I intended that pun, I don’t know), but I’m willing to let Mitt slide on this one.

And, ultimately, I can understand not voting for Mitt Romney because you think he’s inconsistent with your (or even his) political philosophies, and I can understand you not wanting to vote for him because he was a venture capitalist who seems to be disconnected with the reality of the middle class.  What I can’t understand is what an Irish Setter with projectile diarrhea has to do with Mitt Romney’s ability to run the country.  Unless you think it’s good to have experience at working a crappy job before assuming the Presidency.

(Ba-DUM Tssh)

But 10,000 doggie lovers can’t be wrong.  So, I suppose this means I’m the outlier on this one.  Maybe not understanding what the big deal is makes me some kind of monster.  I just can’t make (what seems to be) the proper empathetic connection here.  And that sort of bothers me, because I know that there is a prevalent opinion that my instincts tell me is morally wrong to oppose, and yet I do anyway. 

To boot, this is not the first time I’ve felt like bad for not identifying with the moral indignation of endangering something.

For instance, there was that time Michael Jackson dangled his baby over that railing.  And following that event, there was this huge fury that Michael would do something so dangerous.  But I am not a parent, and so I just always figured, “Hey, did he drop the baby? 

No? 

Well, then I don’t really understand the big deal. Especially since we’re ignoring the actual big deal, which is that SOMEONE ALLOWED MICHAEL JACKSON TO HAVE A BABY IN THE FIRST PLACE.”

So, maybe my priorities are messed up. And maybe I lack empathy. And maybe I am a heartless bastard and Mitt Romney is a malevolent attempted-doggie destroyer. 

I guess it takes a social circle to determine a sociopath. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Wilburforce January 24, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Lot's of people wouldn't vote for Mitt but....would enjoy being his dog.
jennifer January 24, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I just can't forget this horrific and inhumane act when I hear Mitt Romney's name. What's that old saying about being able to tell a person's true character by how they treat those from whom they have nothing to gain? One being the his own family dog.
James Thomas January 25, 2012 at 02:48 PM
I just can't forget that you must post your NAME when you comment on this forum.
bbobcat63 February 02, 2012 at 06:43 AM
I'm sorry but this is "horrible"!! No one with "1/2" a brain" would even do this!. It's just plain out "stupid", and there is no forgiveness. You don't put a dog in a crate, on top of a car going about 80 mph!! OMG!! THis is unacceptable! We can't have someone running this country that make mistakes like this!!! Once, twice... who know's. , but not on MY TIME!! I want some one cool, calm and collected. Someone who remains "calm in the storm". Romney is a "loud mouth", and he just doesn't have it. Sorry. Can't be trusted, makes false promises. Just saying what "you'all" want to hear. He is no different than "Rick Scott" and you should know what he's up to. It's not good! Anyway, If MR get's into office better really start "preying". Your decission, which of the two evils to choose from in the Republican Party. God Be WIth US
marie harmon February 07, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Animals suffer pain just like human beings. They stay away from pain inducing circumstances if they perceive them correctly. They are grateful to people who lessen their pain. Why would a human being want to cause pain and suffering? That personality characteristic is not isolated. A person either has empathy or does not. Some people are basically more caring than others; nurses, social workers, teacher do not remain in their jobs long if they do not mind causing pain and suffering. CEO's, managers, engineers, etc. do not need that quality as much as in medical care. I believe a person who is to be President of the US needs this quality. We knew General Eisenhower had this quality to so plan the invasion with least amount of harm; he kept our country out of war while he was President. He was a caring person as were the Roosevelts. More recent presidents have not seemed to care as much about suffering in other countries as well as our own. It is suprising that some people think it was a good idea to subject his dog to this suffering.

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