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Seamus is the Romney Irish setter who set out on that fateful twelve hour ride.

In 1983, Romney and his family were preparing for their annual vacation to a family cottage in Beach O'Pines, Ontario. Seamus was enclosed in a carrier on the roof of the Romney family's station wagon. Sometime during the trip, the dog became afflicted with diarrhea, causing excrement to flow down the windows of the car. Romney stopped at a gas station to wash Seamus and the car, put Seamus back in his carrier, and continued the twelve-hour trip to Ontario.
Why do I call Seamus an "enacted parable"?

A parable is "a succinct story, in prose or verse, which illustrates one or more instructive principles, or lessons, or (sometimes) a normative principle." The Prodigal Son is about forgiveness and reconciliation. The secular parable of the Washington cherry tree story illustrates character.

An enacted parable is one told through actions rather than words. The prophet Hosea married a prostitute to illustrate the unfaithfulness of Israel; the prophet Jeremiah wore a yoke to symbolize the oppression of the Babylonians. I think that the power of the Seamus story is that it is an enacted parable of Mitt Romney's character and approach to life.

A parable is not an allegory, with a one-to-one matching to something else. But a brief recap of the story brings out how many, many points of contact there are between this short, sad story of Seamus and how Romney has treated thousands of people (and by extension, would treat the American public).

Seamus was one of "the least of these"; he was a family member but one without any power of his own. Romney included him when it was useful and convenient, but had no concern for the experience from Seamus's point of view. The parallel is to the many employees of companies that Romney bought out who were fired. They were useful fodder but disposable at Romney's convenience.

The roof top carrier kept Seamus out of the way; Romney didn't need to face or endure what Seamus suffered for those twelve hours. Similarly Romney has never had to experience what the employees  in the raided companies endured.

Seamus's diarrhea was a wholly natural response to an intolerable situation. Romney did not pay attention to Seamus, though, only to the impact Seamus had on the car. Romney hosed the car and Seamus down, and rolled on down the highway. In the companies that Bain Capitol raided, employees suffered the loss of pensions and health care, but that was irrelevant to Romney and the vulture capitalists; they went ahead with their profit taking.

The hardest part of this story is that Romney told it as a light hearted family anecdote. He continues to have no shame about it, and to claim that Seamus preferred twelve hours in the slipstream over time inside with the family.

One sign that this story is evocative is how widely it has spread. Seamus has a Wikipedia article. The website Dogs Against Romney has been raising awareness since 2008. Spreading Romney has redefined "Romney" to mean "To defecate in terror," a new meaning that Romney has earned even more than Santorum has earned his. The Google image search for "Seamus Romney" is revealing for the depth and breadth of response to the story.

If the Seamus story had been a one off mistake, regretted and apologized for, it would have ended. It gains its force from the many parallels to the way that Romney has treated "the least of these" in the companies that Bain Capitol has raided. It should legitimately be taken as a warning for how Romney would treat the American people if (God forbid) he were President.

(The rest of the story for Seamus over the fleur de Kos)

Officially, Seamus ended his life on a family farm, spending his last days in the company of the butterflies and mellowing in the sun.

Unofficial reports (two of the Romney sons, unnamed) claim that Seamus ran away in Canada and never returned to the US.

Darker speculations are natural but unsubstantiated.

Remind anyone of "Hundreds of thousands of jobs"?

Someone made this simulation of riding on the roof of a car. Now, imagine it for twelve hours (and twelve back, if they really brought Seamus back).

Originally posted to Wee Thoughts on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 05:20 PM PST.

Also republished by Anglican Kossacks and Community Spotlight.

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