The crack team of researchers at the Republican National Committee have come up with another blockbuster story: President Likes Dogs.
Oh, that'll do the trick. Quick, Republicans, find more images of President Joe Biden acknowledging dogs. That'll put your seditionist document hoarder back in the White House for sure!
Ahem. For the record—and we are going to go slow here so as to not confuse RNC head Ronna née Romney McDaniel and her minions—there are established social norms governing what should happen when in the presence of a dog that everybody follows, aside from true sociopaths.
When a dog presents itself to you, you acknowledge the dog.
This must be an extremely confusing moment for top Republicans because their former and current Dear Leader figure, Donald Seditionist Rapist Golfboy Trump, famously hates dogs. That means all other Republicans now must themselves hate dogs too since it is an opinion Trump holds. If I recall correctly, "we now hate dogs" was going to be added to the 2020 Republican Party platform before the party decided to just cobble something together declaring itself to believe whatever Donald believes in a more all-encompassing, less specific way.
But among non-sociopaths, the general procedure when a dog walks up to you and acknowledges your existence is that you then look at the dog. You follow this up by complimenting the dog. Assuming there is no official legal reason you should not pet the dog, you then pet the dog, but only if the dog appears to want such attention. The social norms are, of course, more nuanced than this.
When in the company of both people and a dog, acknowledge the dog first.
Acknowledge the people only if it appears you are obligated to do so.
If the dog is accompanied by a human partner, you must generally present yourself to the human partner by complimenting the attractiveness or general demeanor of the dog.
This is praise the dog's human partner will secretly take at least a 20% cut of for themselves. You then ask the human partner if you can pet the dog, which is generally considered a formality but gives you an opportunity to resent the human if they say no.
You and the other people are now free to discuss the dog and all the good features of the dog.
Eventually, someone in the conversation will try to bring the topic back around to whatever you were discussing before the dog arrived. You and your conversation partners will then all know who among you likes dogs the least, marking that person as forever suspicious.
The specific case presented to us today, however, is unusual in that it was an official government-dog interaction to begin with. Biden and the others had been discussing the search operations that the dog was itself a part of, and Biden himself moved away from the dog quite quickly so that the emergency operations could continue. While focusing attention on a dog, you may not obstruct the dog from doing its official government or medical business because that would make you a different sort of sociopath. Biden acted correctly in this case.
If the dog is wearing little boots, it is absolutely essential that all members of the conversation acknowledge the dog's little boots.
There is no wiggle room to this one: Boots must be acknowledged.
Here we see Biden doing all the correct things. He immediately acknowledges the dog and gives the dog's human partner more attention than he gives anyone else in the conversation. He extends his hand experimentally as an offer to give the dog affection, which the dog accepts. Biden praises the dog for having little boots, elevating the social standing of the dog's partner with a presidential recognition that the partner has provided little boots in a situation where little boots are called for.
The dog is a working search and recovery dog, climbing through still-smoking debris to find fire victims that human searchers have not. Showing his knowledge about proper dog gear and apparel, Biden notes that the little boots are a necessity because "that's some hot ground."
This is all probably very difficult for the RNC's employees and hangers-on to understand. Their Dear Leader is quite transparently a sociopath, a criminal who does not like dogs because all criminals have an instinctive fear of dogs. Dogs, with their keen senses, can immediately identify who is a sociopath and who is not, and a criminal who is also a sociopath would naturally want to avoid dogs as much as possible.
For the rest of us, the social norms govern all. Greet dogs before people. When in the presence of both a dog and one or more people, focus your attention on the dog and ignore the people as much as other societal norms will allow.
I don't care what you do or don't put in your party platform, Republicans, but this is a universal truth. If you weirdos want to hunt up another 20 video clips of Biden liking dogs, you go right ahead and publish every one of them.
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American political parties might often seem stuck in their ways, but they can and in fact do change positions often. Joining us on this week's episode of "The Downballot" is political scientist David Karol, who tells us how and why both the Democratic and Republican parties have adjusted their views on a wide range of issues over the years. Karol offers three different models for how these transformations happen—and explains why voters often stick with their parties even after these shifts. He concludes by offering tips to activists seeking to push their parties when they're not changing fast enough.
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