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.
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?
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.