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April 20, 2012

Wag the Dog

Joe Charlebois

What question would you ask the presidential candidates if you had the chance? Would you ask President Barack Obama or Gov. Mitt Romney about a nuclear Iran and how they would handle the news that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is about to announce the unveiling of a nuclear warhead.


Would you ask the candidates about the slaughter in Syria? Would you ask about how they would deal with the reinstallation of Vladimir Putin as leader of Russia?


Would you go about questioning what the future role of the United States Armed Forces in a crumbling Afghanistan should be in relation to increased insurgent strikes and possible misdeeds by military personnel?


When it comes to domestic oil prices would you grill the president on his current policy – or lack thereof – or ask Governor Romney what he would do differently? Would you follow up by asking how your State Department plans to mend fences with Canada over the refusal to go forward with the Keystone XL pipeline?


Our country’s unchecked illegal immigration explosion, persistently high unemployment numbers, poverty rates and out-of-control deficit spending and burgeoning debt would also be good questions to bring out when sitting down to interview the two men who are the likely candidates for their respective parties for the presidency in November.


ABC’s Dianne Sawyer, who had a sit down interview with Governor Romney and his wife Ann Romney that aired earlier this week, did ask Mr. Romney and his wife dozens of questions regarding international and domestic issues most of which were of pressing matters as described above, but she demeaned the entire interview by asking a nonsense question sent in via about the family dog.


It seems that the Romney family used to pack up the family station wagon for vacation with little to no room for the family dog to ride within the comfortable confines of the family truckster. The family reportedly used a travel crate attached to the roof to transport their pup.


What may seem cruel to us in the world of 2012 would not have seemed out of place 30 years ago.


Ann Romney seemed to diffuse the whole controversy about Seamus as she described his love and anticipation of riding in the crate on trips. After all the dog was with the family while they were on vacation. She stated: “…he would see that crate and, you know, he would, like, go crazy because he was going with us on vacation. It was to me a kinder thing to bring him along than to leave him in the kennel for…two weeks, so….”


Nowadays, it seems strange to think of a dog carrier loaded on top of a station wagon, but back then a lot of things were different. The youth of today probably couldn’t imagine riding around without the state mandated safety laws that are in place. We didn’t use seatbelts; we rode on the hump that ran from the front end to the rear wheels; we rode around carefree in the back of pickup trucks. It was normal then.


What is always lost between generations is the fact that human beings have a difficult time with historical perspective and cultural differences. Just as the Romney’s had Seamus ride along crated on the roof of the car may seem a terrible thing now, our president when young actually ate dog as part of his childhood diet in Indonesia.


These are insignificant issues in such a turbulent world. They may have entertainment value, but little else.


Let’s hope that future interviews of the Obamas and Romneys don’t focus on such trivial matters, we deserve better.


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