Let me say this right up front. I am not an Obama supporter. Before my Democrat friends get all riled up, I don’t much like Romney either. In fact, let’s get Romney out of the way first so we can talk about what I want to talk about.
Romney strapped a crate to the roof of his vehicle and stuck his dog in it for a lengthy drive. The poor dog became ill, and Romney was inconvenienced by having to hose down the dog and the crate mid-trip. Do I approve? Hell no. Do I think that, depending on the exact circumstances, this should have qualified as animal abuse? Should it have been illegal? Yes, quite probably. (And I only qualify it as probably because I do not know the exact circumstances.) I also do not approve of the additional information provided by Romney’s sister; according to her, the dog regularly went walkabout and ended up in the pound.
Admittedly, standards of animal care were different 25 years ago. But not that different. This information is indicative of of irresponsible pet ownership at best and neglect/abuse at worst.
And I am not impressed.
That having been said, let me address the Obama Dog Joke Debacle.
When I first saw references to the “pit bulls are delicious” joke online today, I thought it had to be false information. Surely, I thought, no sitting President of the United States of America would exhibit such bad taste and poor judgement.
I was wrong. He did. As did his handlers, if they knew he was going to say it.
The President of the United States of America should have more dignity and more class than to make a “joke” guaranteed to offend millions of Americans. Is he really that out of touch with his constituents? (I didn’t like his comments about Hillary Clinton drunk texting him either. Tasteless, tasteless, tasteless.)
So why is this so offensive? First, millions of Americans are fierce animal advocates. We don’t appreciate weird unfunny jokes about eating what we consider family members. Second, in the United States of American, dogs are not edible. It is not culturally acceptable, and in fact it is one of the great cultural separation points between us and some cultures who still view dogs as meat animals. Americans on the whole view eating dogs as barbaric and disgusting. I’m no lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that it would be illegal abuse of animals to kill and eat dogs in this country.
Some Obama supporters are claiming that he made the joke to deflect the Romney camp’s attacks. It seems that Romney’s people want to distract the voters from the Romney Dog Trip Disaster by pointing out that Obama ate dogs instead of simply scaring them into incontinence. I don’t care why he made the joke. It was wrong. (And let me reiterate that I don’t care why Romney tied a dog to the roof. It was wrong.)
Yes, we understand that Obama ate dog meat as a child in a foreign country. It was put on his plate, he ate it, that’s how things were. I do not blame him for that. I do absolutely blame him for being out of touch enough to think that the American public would find humor in it. I do blame him for joking about what, for this culture, is animal abuse. It undermines and diminishes the efforts of animal advocates everywhere. We spend our days covered in dog hair and dirt and worse. We fight every day to prevent animal abuse. Our President dresses up in a tux and makes juvenile jokes (on tv, no less) that trivialize the violation of a major cultural taboo.
Inappropriate. Tasteless. Insensitive. And unworthy behavior from anyone holding or aspiring to hold the most important office in this nation.