By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

— Gov. Mark Dayton’s dog died this week. And because he is Governor and because he put it on his Facebook page it was news. The Star Tribune broke the news. I glanced at the online comments beneath the story and kept reading. I was amazed that the comments were all supportive.

Why would I be amazed? Unless you are a reader of online comments posted at the end of news stories, you won’t get it. Online comments on news stories tend to be the rantings of the lowest common denominator in all of us. Because the comments don’t have a name attached people post anything. Comments are often vulgar, racist, sexist, cruel or all of the above.

But the comments about Dayton and his dogs were different. Many of the comments cited differences politically with the Governor, but admiration for his love for his pets. The civil nature of the comments, the outpouring of sympathy, the concern for the Governor’s grieving, seemed universal.

Which made me think. Would the Capitol be a more civil place if everyone brought their pets with them? Would every work place, every school be just a little bit kinder? Or should those of us who own pets wear buttons with their pictures on it?

When you consider that in the online world where anonymity often brings out the worst in us, animals reach a place that ordinary reason and decency can’t. In the real world where Minnesota Nice obviously masks some pretty angry feelings, maybe a reminder that most of us are animal owners, or at least lovers, might lead us all to a nicer and gentler place.

Comments (8)
  1. gtV says:

    Right On, Esme! Minnesota Nice goes out the window when many post comments on the news threads or news blogs. Just read the WCCO news blog updates regarding the Governor’s Friday radio hour normally heard on WCCO.

    It’s bad the worst in all of us has to be ‘rabid’ anger and political ignorance to everything. At least Howard Beale[Peter Finch] in “Network” could scream out his open window and yell “I’m mad as hell, and, I’m not going to take it anymore!”. At least there seemed a purpose to his primal outbursts.

    Blog comments, of late, lack the decorum and/or intellectual substance/content to truly have a lively discourse on the issues at hand. Folks are screaming that the proverbial sky is falling for them but offer no evidential substantial proof of such. Meanwhile, another commenting faction say they have the answers, to the sky falling, but don’t seem to know to work toward or institute resolution of such. Then the grand debating ensues.

    What do my comments have to do with the Governor losing his devoted pet dog? At least, there are some good folks out there who do care for something or someone besides themselves. To show negative irresponsible diatribes against the Governor’s loss would be a faux paux that would be outrageous. Besides the Governor sharing this loss with us on FB or the blogs shows his humanity for us to see. We may not agree with his political viewpoints but after all he is human like us.

    Esme, Keep up your good work. It’s nice to know that there is someone who does see and recognizes the glimpses of humanity we sometimes forget we have in ourselves.

  2. DJG says:

    Esme; I gotta tell ya sis, you are straight on again.

  3. Tony Rozycki says:

    Just explained to my cats Princess & Duke that despite most people’s good will toward dogs, it’s ironic the founding fathers chose not to grant them the right to vote & they shouldn’t worry nor be envious as that hasn’t changed.

  4. StraycatStrut says:

    Right On Sister Esme….. now lets go have some cream puffs and celebrate Dayton gathering and dance in the streets!!!!! Afterwards…. we can put on our “Save the trees in Mpls” t-Shirts and tell everyone how great our state is with a $6 Billion shortfall and raising taxes in a recession attitude.

  5. Megan says:

    Hi Esme,
    Speaking of dogs…I saw your story on the dog show yesterday morning. You said you have a german shorthair pointer and that is the dog my husband and I want to get. Where did you get your dog? We’re having trouble finding a breeder that we like. Thanks!

  6. LP Guy says:

    I love the priveledge wcco allows its viewers who wish to comment on a matter. But I agree. It’s a priveledge that often is used to display the most heartless inconsiderate / inappropriate rants, apparrently dwelling in the hearts/minds of people we must pass by everyday. A little scary when you think about it really. Perhaps when it comes to the subject of death resulting in a loved one lost, even those fuming with these divisive outbursts are able to reserve judgement and spite. It’s nice to know that even the angriest or jaded among us can keep it above the line, at least selectively. It’s unfortunate that we don’t see this more often. To acheive progress there has to be unity in the world. It shouldn’t only be employed when we hear of a dog passing on or an elected offical gunned down on a street corner. We all could stand for some more common decency that is actually ‘common.’

  7. Cache says:

    “Comments here are often vulgar, racist, sexist, cruel or all of the above”. Pretty low and sneaky..get your low blows in by misdirection and stealth calling bloggers names and meanness by appealing to the pet lover in all. Just because Dayto (I gave myself and F) MAY be kind or devoted to his animals does not mean he has one iota of common sense or brains to run our state in a common sense strategy. he already has shown his foolish spending side. Give us a break aye!

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