As one who owns and loves his dog I found it difficult to reconcile Governor Romney’s treatment of his dog with a dog lover’s perspective of humane pet treatment. But at the time I did not see how that incident fit into election year politics.
For those who do not remember the dog trip incident it seems that Governor Romney was taking a vacation with his family and the car was crowded with kids and camping stuff and they took their Irish Setter, Seamus, along by tying his dog carrier on the car roof and having Seamus ride up there. According to the Governor it was something Seamus was used to and enjoyed doing.
The journey was several hundred miles and during the trip Seamus experienced gastric distress to the point that liquid dog poop began trickling out and down the back window. When his children alerted their dad that Seamus was in trouble the Governor pulled the car off the road at a gas station and borrowed a hose took the dog and the carrier down and hosed them both off returned them to the roof and proceeded on. A good outcome for the family trip but not necessarily for Seamus, Such is the dog’s life. What does this have to do with the Presidential primary?
Yesterday the Governor said he is not concerned with the very poor or the very rich but rather with the vast “middle of America.” In his statement he said the very poor had a safety net and “if it is broken I will fix it.” The expeditious economy of effort implied in that statement harkened back to hosing off Seamus and cleaning up the dog carrier. There was an implied disconnect between the problem and the remedy, just as there had been between the cause of Seamus’s distress and the mechanics of cleaning up the result of his illness. The problems of the long term unemployed are not easily remedied.
A word about long term unemployment and its impact on our social order: The idea of the dignity of work is so important to our cultural well-being. Not just the paycheck but the idea that one is making their own way, earning the food they eat, paying for the shelter they need, and by doing so achieving the cohesive family pride that is so necessary to a vibrant productive Democracy.
The negative impact of long term unemployment is well documented. There is a rhythm to one’s working life that unemployment destroys and thus causes a slow diminishment of one’s job readiness along with the self-esteem and confidence necessary to maintain a competitive edge. No, this is not “nanny state government” but a concerned and aware government that wants its society to remain strong and healthy. The impact of such extended unemployment is well documented and an understanding of those impacts should be included in any developed remedies.
Governor Romney is obviously a man of many virtues, but if he wants to be President he’d better polish up his pet transportation skills and awareness of the poor.
— Pat Gogerty