I've tried to stay clear of the "Mitt Romney strapped a living dog on the top of a car for a 12 hour drive" train, mostly because it's a sensationalist story and that's not what Bloody Shrubbery is about. However, Mitt Romney's recent attack on Barack Obama requires me to break this self-imposed silence. In Barack Obama's first book, Dreams from my Father, (a great novel, might I add) he discusses eating dog as a young child in Indonesia, which Romney has latched onto. The Dogs Against Romney website had an interesting response:
Look, the United States of America is a meat eating nation. (We can discuss the ethics of this in another post.) However, Americans draw a distinction between raising animals for eating purposes and arbitrary animal abuse. Eating dog meat in other countries is an actual industry; it is not as if households just slaughter the family dog on the kitchen table.
"Well," I said, "it seems desperate for the Romney campaign to bring up something that happened to Obama when he was 10-years old, not preparing his own meals, in a country where eating dog meat probably isn't all that unusual - as if it compares in any way to Romney, as a 36-year old adult, in America, making the conscious decision to strap his family pet to the roof of a car for a 12-hour drive, and leaving it up there even after it got sick." […] If President Obama had made the conscious decision to eat dog meat as a 36-year old adult, in America, claimed the dog liked being eaten, and still claimed he didn't think there was anything wrong with it, the Romney campaign would have a point and my pack would be on the president like a pack of wild, well....dogs.While I think Rusty does a good job of demonstrating how much of a false equivalency the Romney campaign is trying to show, it sort of misses the point.
Let's put this into context. Hypothetically, let's just say that Mitt Romney was caught fucking a chicken. After he received criticism for this illegal, unethical, and likely unconsensual act, he pointed a finger at Barack Obama, who has eaten chicken before.
For me, the real issue is that Mitt Romney is playing into the old anti-Obama playbook by using xenophobia/racism to make him seem strange and foreign. Just as right-wingers expect everyone to speak Amurikan, does the "when in Rome" logic not apply to Barack Obama when he lived in Indonesia as a young child?
On a semi-related note, I plan to visit Seoul, South Korea in mid-June. I do intend to locate and taste gaegogi (개고기), or "dog meat". I see nothing unethical about this, since I eat other varieties of meat. I will report back with my findings.