When someone told me this morning that Joe Biden had acquired a new puppy, I was really excited because I was pretty sure he would have done the right thing and gone to a shelter. After all, many of us think our vice-president-elect is a terribly smart guy, and that's what you expect a smart person would do.
Imagine my shock when I read this story saying that Biden's puppy comes not from a shelter but from a breeder in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Biden, I have just this to ask of you: in all your years as a politician who spends a lot of time (presumably) learning about injustices and working to set them right, didn't you ever learn about the nearly three million perfectly healthy dogs that are euthanized in animal shelters around the country each year because they cannot find good homes, even as breeders continue to irresponsibly churn out hundreds of thousands of more innocent puppies each year?
Hadn't you at least heard about the numerous petitions that animal rights groups and animal shelters have made in recent weeks asking your running mate, Barack Obama, to adopt from a shelter when he started talking about getting a dog for his daughters?
And while I assume that this puppy of yours comes from a "respectable" breeder, whatever that is, do you know that Pennsylvania is notorious for being home to hundreds of puppy mills, those terrifying places where humans enslave dogs in tiny crates and under terrifying conditions with the sole purpose of breeding them to make more puppies for pet shops?
If I sound really disappointed, Mr. Biden, it is because I am: I had much higher hopes of you. Animal rights might seem like the obsession of just a few, but compassion ought to be part of all of our hearts.
One of my favorite quotes from Mahatma Gandhi goes something like this: "A nation's progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals."
I think you just set us back quite a bit, Mr. Biden.