Friday, April 20, 2012

The Dog Dilemma

The not so new “news” about President Obama is that he has eaten dog meat; this is an effort by the Republicans to diminish how Mitt Romney treated his dog back in the 80s. The comparing of Romney, an adult father, who strapped his dog on top of the family car for a 12 hour trip at a speed of about 75 miles per hour, inflicting such terror into the poor dog that caused her gastrointestinal distress and horrified his own children by seeing the dog’s diarrhea running down the rear window of the family car.  Comparing that with what happened to a child less than 10 years old in a foreign land, who was being fed what the adults felt was a normal diet. There is an abysmal difference between the two occurrences: President Obama was a child, not responsible for the food choices of the adults that fed him, Romney was the adult who managed to horrify and probably traumatized his own children by his cruel and unnecessary treatment of their family dog.  He continues the fine example as Mitt Romney and his family are friends with a man that voluntarily barbequed and ate a dog as an adult and who today is his biggest political supporter, Fred Malek.

This claim is just another weak attempt from the Republicans to damage President Obama’s image, having nothing else that they could find. The funny thing is, that it was our own president who candidly mentioned it in his book “Dreams from my Father”. It is no secret that this book is an autobiography of President Obama before he became a Senator, let alone the President of the United States. Among the many things that President Obama shared with the world in this autobiography, it imparts to the reader what a young mulatto had to endure growing up in the United States in the 60s, in a country filled with racism and hatred. We can perceive this best when he so eloquently wrote “I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to the whites), I see the split-second adjustments they have to make, the searching of my eyes for some telltale sign. They no longer know who I am. Privately, they guess at my troubled heart, I suppose – the mixed blood, the divided soul, the ghostly image of the tragic mulatto trapped between two worlds. And if I were to explain that no, the tragedy is not mine, or at least not mine alone, it is yours, sons and daughters of Plymouth Rock and Ellis Island, it is yours, children of Africa, it is the tragedy of both my wife’s six-year-old cousin and his white first grade classmates, so that you need not guess at what troubles me, it’s on the nightly news for all to see, and that if we could acknowledge at least that much then the tragic cycle begins to break down… well, I suspect that I sound incurably naïve, wedded to lost hopes, like those Communists who peddle their newspapers on the fringes of various college towns. Or worse, I sound like I’m trying to hide from myself”, I believe one does not have to be bi-racial to understand and feel what the President was trying to relay to the reader. It is a shame that the majority of Republicans can’t understand it; to be capable of this requires a heart and if they have one, is usually filled with hate leaving no room for anything else.

In order to lessen the negative impact of Mitt Romney’s cruel behavior towards what was supposed to be his beloved pet Seamus, the Republicans have dug out a phrase from that wonderful book, where President Obama describes in a few sentences, one of his many experiences while living in Indonesia. We must remember President Obama was around 6 years of age when he moved there. But it should come as no surprise to anyone that the Republicans are comparing a heinous act committed by an adult in front of his own children to what a child accepted from an adult. I guess that will allow the Democrats to blame Mitt Romney’s children of abusing their “beloved” pet too, if it applies to one then it should apply to the other as well.

For those who have not read the book and who might not know much about President’s Obama childhood I will try to set up the premises to the story and will let you judge for yourself. In 1966 after her divorce Ann Dunham, President Obama’s mother, married Lolo Soetoro and in 1967 she and her new husband moved to Indonesia taking her six-year-old son with her. In 1971, out of fear for her son’s safety, Mrs. Dunham sent President Obama back to Hawaii to live with his grandparents. Mrs. Dunham and her daughter born of that marriage joined President Obama a year later.

We can deduce that when President Obama ate dog meat, he could have been anywhere between 6 to 10 years of age. At that age, you are not responsible for what you eat, food is usually provided by either your parents or another adult.

This is how President Obama mentions the “exotic” culinary experience: “With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunch). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.” That passage of the book is what is being used to compare President Obama’s ill moment with dogs and that of Mitt Romney.

It is necessary in order to pass a sound judgment, that we compare both incidents from a source that is not biased. The following was taken from a supporter's website dedicated in its entirety to Mitt Romney:

This is the story about Seamus, Mitt Romney’s unfortunate dog: “Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family's hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon's roof rack. He'd built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.” Just the thought of putting a dog on top of a car roof for a 12-hour road trip is enough to make by skin crawl, but that is not all. The story proudly continues as if that act was not bad enough.

Then Romney put his boys on notice: He would be making predetermined stops for gas, and that was it."

"The ride was largely what you'd expect with five brothers, ages 13 and under, packed into a wagon they called the ''white whale.''

As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. ''Dad!'' he yelled. ''Gross!'' A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who'd been riding on the roof in the wind for hours."

As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.”

Apparently, the Romneys thought of this incident as a joke. What it's so difficult for me to understand is that Mitt Romney had more than enough money to send Seamus by plane to Toronto, leave him in a reputable boarding facility or rent a damn van where the whole family and Seamus could comfortably fit but he chose none of them. Instead, he opted for the cheapest and cruelest one, strapping his dog on the roof of the car and, not content with that, when the poor dog vomited and defecated all over the car out of sheer terror the reward Seamus got was to be hosed down, not even dried and eight more hours of the same torture. That incident clearly reflects where Mitt Romney’s heart is, in his wallet.

For the Republicans that are trying to compare these two incidents, let me tell them that there is no comparison possible. One was an act of an adult inflicted on a child – the child should not be blamed. The other was the act of a cheap, cold hearten, irresponsible adult on an innocent dog.  So don’t you dare to compare!

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