“With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.”
Well, it's not really news; that's an excerpt from Dreams from my Father, which was first published in 1995 and has sold a bundle. So millions of people have read this paragraph before and never cared before. However conservative website The Daily Caller decided to make it into news recently. It's essentially a response to the stories of Mitt Romney driving around with a dog atop his car back in the 80s.
Yet amazingly some on the right think this is actually a story, a microcosm of everything that is wrong with the liberal left. Here are some excerpts from a ridiculously deluded post from The American Thinker:
Condemning the transportation of a dog in a pet crate on a car roof while supporting a President with a history of eating dog is indicative of the imperious elitism the left often promotes.
Yes, people actually believe that something someone a 50 year-old man ate when he was around 8 years old, living in another country, has some kind of relevance to anything at all.
Dog jokes aside, if the President were truly concerned about dogs' well-being, he would still to this day be sickened at the thought of the lunch his stepfather Lolo served him 40+ years ago. Therefore, when signing the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, Obama could have redeemed himself by citing his personal exposure to animal cruelty as a child in Indonesia. The fact that Obama never mentioned eating dog meat is an illustration of how liberals excuse their own past offenses and feel justified standing up for contradictory arguments, even if that defense is accomplished by merely failing to expose past wrongdoing.
Think about it. Who else, knowing full well that at some point in his life he dined on Rover for lunch, would allow his campaign to express disapproval for the sin of letting a dog ride in a crate on the top of a car? Who, other than liberals, would dare to condemn the treatment of a family pet being taken on vacation, however the dog arrived there, after the candidate they support nonchalantly described snake meat as a little tougher than a mutt burger? In the end, if one tries to comprehend the rationale behind supporting a dog-eater while protesting cruelty to animals, the only justification can be that America's polymathic president is excused because his life experience includes a sincere reverence for an ancient animist tradition.
Regarding Romney putting his dog on top of his car, that's also a non-issue to me. I'm no expert in canine welfare, but I can think of plenty of other reasons to dislike Mitt than something he did back in the 80s which may or may not have been an inappropriate way to treat a beloved family pet.
But Obama-eats-dog is even less of an issue. With Romney, if it can be proven that his treatment of Seamus the Irish setter was indeed cruel (and I'm not sure that it was), then that at least it might say something about his character, since he was a grown-ass man at the time. What Obama ate when he was a kid has nothing to do with anything. It's not like he personally tortured and killed the dog before consuming it. A relative gave him some meat to eat, and he ate it. As you would expect of any well-raised child.
The American Thinker article even attacks Obama for not mentioning dog-eating every time he talks about animal welfare, and not being openly horrified when he does so. This is a really odd way to look at things. Is someone who campaigns for better treatment of cattle, yet who eats beef, a hypocrite? No.
It's a decidedly Western perspective that views dogs as being some kind of sacred beast that must be treated with reverence, in contrast to the millions of cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens that are raised in horrific conditions yet nobody gives a shit about.
Don't get me wrong, I don't support the eating of dog meat. I've had my own personal run-in with the stuff which had a major effect on me. But a dog is an animal, no more and no less than a cow or a pig. What separates one from the other is a purely arbitrary classification. I might be cuter and smarter than the guy next door, but that doesn't make my life worth any more.
And eating dog meat is a fairly common practice in much of Eastern Asia and elsewhere; in many cases, in regions where meat is a scarce commodity. (Ironically, it occurs only rarely in Indonesia, as it is considered haram in Islam.) I would hazard a guess that Obama recognizes that while the eating of dog meat might be unpleasant in concept, it is just a reality of the world. Putting Americo-centric judgements on the practice serves no great purpose in this context.
For conservatives, the dog-eating anecdote serves to boost one of the long-running avenues of attack on the President: that he is really a foreigner who is radically different from "real" Americans and doesn't understand them. Ironically, they are going to put their faith in Mitt Romney, a man who is far more out of touch with the average American than Obama ever was.