I rarely comment on current political events in this blog–I wrote one post about the Spanish elections last fall (and in case you care, Mariano Rajoy was elected president but that was no surprise given at how people were very frustrated with Zapatero and his political party the PSOE by the end of his term) and that’s been pretty much it.
However there are two political mishaps that have been greatly amusing me this week. And they both involve animals.
The first involves the King of Spain, Juan Carlos. I don’t talk much about the Spanish royal family, but as far as royal families go, they seem like a decent bunch. They are rather vanilla and controversy-free, unlike the British royal family, and the Spanish have a rather high opinion of their monarch and his wife Queen Sofia.
However, this week the Spanish have momentarily stopped singing his praises. The King came under fire after it was revealed he had broken his hip during a hunting trip to Botswana. And it appears he was hunting elephants. I’m not sure if he broke his hip while he was hunting elephants, but the injury was serious enough that he had to come back to Spain to get treatment in a Madrid hospital. This picture of the king standing with a gun in front of a dead elephant has now become infamous (this picture is also apparently from a previous hunting trip):
Many Spaniards are outraged that the king decided to go on vacation when Spain is suffering a severe economic crisis and unemployment is at an all time high. Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish president, announced he knew the king had gone to Botswana but other higher up Spanish politicians commented they hadn’t known Juan Carlos was even out of the country. One politician even said the king should “choose between his responsibilities and abdication” (a little extreme I think).
And of course there’s the matter of hunting elephants. Though I honestly think the Spanish are more upset that the king decided to enjoy the perks of a lavish lifestyle than over hunting an animal on the endangered species list. He has been asked to step down as honorary president of the Spanish branch of the World Wildlife Fund–I’m surprised PETA’s deranged president Ingrid Newkirk hasn’t said anything yet. But I feel like the Spaniards don’t really care about the whole animal rights’ part of this controversy–they’re too focused on their economic crisis to give a hoot about their king contributing to reducing the population of African elephants. This does not surprise me at all–all I hear about in the halls at school from the teachers is about the crisis and the budget cuts.
In a rather out of character move for a royal family, Juan Carlos directly apologized to his subjects via the media video cameras that were awaiting him as he was being discharged. Juan Carlos very simply stated, “I’m sorry, I was wrong, and it won’t happen again.” (See the video for proof; it’s in Spanish but I already translated the important part for you. Only pay attention to the first 40 seconds). I mean can you see Queen Elizabeth II or anyone from the British royal family doing this? I can’t.
I do disapprove of the king hunting elephants though. I’m not sure that’s a past time he necessarily needs to continue.
Anyways, Juan Carlos is not the only person criticized for taking lavish vacations–Obama gets criticized every time he goes to Hawaii or Martha’s Vineyard. He has the sense not to hunt elephants, because that would cause a media firestorm in the US. This next story involves animals too. Obama makes a guest appearance in this next story.
So we all know who Mitt Romney is–candidate for the presidential Republican nomination for the 2012 American elections. That’s all I knew about the guy.
And then my roommate showed me this hilarious video clip. It is a video montage of several different video clips of Mitt Romney talking that have been compiled in such a way that the editor of the video managed to create a “rap” and set it to the tune of “Will the Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up?”, originally performed by Eminem. You must watch the whole thing to understand what comes next.
This video is pure genius, but the whole “my dog is on the roof, my dog is on the roof” left me and my roommate a bit baffled. We had no idea what that was about and for a few weeks we thought it was just meant to be funny and completely random.
Well, no. It turns out nothing in that video is random! Yesterday I was browsing Huffington Post and a headline about “Mitt Romney’s dog on car roof” caught my eye. Say what?!
It turns out in 1983 Mitt Romney and his family went on a 12 hour car trip from Ontario to Boston. Back then, the Romneys had an Irish setter named Seamus. And during this 12 hour car trip, Seamus rode in his crate on top of the car.
Yes, you read that right. The dog did not ride inside the car, he rode on top of the car. For 12 hours.
The dog got sick during the trip, meaning he got a really bad case of diarrhea. Romney did stop the car at a gas station to wash the dog and his car, because well… the dog’s crap got all over the car. Literally. And then Romney put the dog back on top of the car and continued on his trip.
This story has haunted Romney in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections and just will not die. The other Republican candidates have commented on it, saying that this example is a testament to Mitt Romney’s character. Mitt Romney has stated himself he would never do such a thing again and has said the attacks about his dog have been the most wounding–Ann Romney (his wife) has said the dog loved traveling in his crate this way and they never thought it was inhumane or cruel.
Obama has not commented publicly on this story as far as I know–but David Axelrod, his chief political consultant, did Tweet a picture of the president in a limo with his dog Bo, captioning it “how loving owners transport their dogs.”
My take? I have a dog, I love dogs, and no I would never put my dog on top of the car while traveling! But this happened nearly 30 years ago. Romney obviously realizes he made a mistake and will probably not be putting any future dogs he may own on top of cars while traveling. I think it’s time to let sleeping dogs lie–aka let go of this story and move on. I just think it’s so typical of the American media to harp on this already ridiculous story! We have other important things going on–such as I don’t know, climate change, terrorism, the national deficit…
My dog Milou agrees with me: