Sunday, April 24, 2016

To Be Almost the Best We Can Be

and other compromises during the revolution

Warning. Way too long a post, but I was riding shotgun for two hours after spending time with some radical vegans.

Flower photos next.

A couple of years ago, I found a site called 'Collective Evolution'. A merry and idealistic bunch of young folks founded it about five years back. Rational Wiki calls it "a woo-mongering clickbait website". Lately, I kind of agree. Don't get me wrong: It's just taken political correctness full circle, hectoring and lecturing just like the old school.

Maybe I'm a faux progressive. Saying I love animals while still eating ones who swim and, too, worse. Aoparently by consuming by-products of living bovine and poultry units, I'm contributing to their torture. I know because the vegan bible tells me so.

Look. I haven't ever had almond or soy milk, OK? I'll never forget my pal's reply, ages ago, when I asked what tofu tasted like. He said, "It tastes like what it's NEXT to." (My emphasis.)

What an answer! And this was what he said to entice me to try it. Tastes like what it's next to. Good Lord. For that matter, so does Kelly Ripa. (No offense to her in any way.)

Look, very few of us have a leg to stand on in these ultimately moral discussions if only for the huge inconsistencies we're heir to - as humans. My favorite people talk about these things without talking AT those who don't live by, vote for or eat what they do. That's not too say I collect unprincipled buddies. When I consider who cares for me - I am among the luckiest people. Plenty of these friends believe differently from me but none of them hate any human for their race, creed or sexual preference...

Until now. Until the March of the Vegans.

Some of you will think all of this is just new age angst anyway. I hear you. Then if you take into consideration that I profess to pick up information from people no longer among the living, you'll see a steaming plate of irony heaped high, no?

Like something scratchy way down the back of my shirt, I've been trying to claw at whatever it is that's bugging me about these guys. The Collective Evolution/vegan guys. (Relax: "Guys" is just an easy label I've borrowed since seeing 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ". As in, "Who ARE those guys!?")

I've a similar rub the wrong way reaction when reading the posts of uber vegan folk on my FB timeline. There is noooo mercy. Even for the 1% organic milk I use in my coffee.

None, Nada, zilch.

You don't have to club baby seals to accrue the ire/shaming of this truly holier than most of us bunch. Just. A little. Milk in your coffee. And YOU are just as bad.

Kids. That does not sit right with me.

I know vegetarians so mellow about this enormous and, yes, truly principled life decision, that I didn't even realize they were for years. Because they don't tell people.

(Granted, I could certainly learn to be more observant, especially with folks I care about.)

I'm tickled, too, that I've picked friends who haven't stormed the gates of my less than conscious choices, imparting their own lofty path by way of example.

No one has ever changed my mind about anything important by screaming at me. Ever. And if you think I'll stop drinking milk in my coffee because you were gross enough to remind me it has -


...(their words) blood and puss in it.


About twenty years ago, I recall seeing PETA members throw blood on women who wore furs. I was actually there to see this. I recall the ugly muscles in the faces of the haters more than anything else. Coupled with the certainty that they were on the side of right, they actually looked exactly like the people who screamed at the little black girls who were just trying to attend public school a half a century before.

I think that wearing fur is pretty hideous.

Unless you are a citizen of a place that has the climate, marketplace and many other distinctive attributes which make this the exception. I'll always think there is a meat exception, too.

We're in America. Most of us don't meet the requirements for that exception.

But these guys who hunt and give the meat to the hungry? There are gray areas where your blood buckets have no business. Look. I can't stand those clueless fur wearing puffy lipped rich chicks either, but dammit you've almost made them sympathetic.

Am I saying that people who believe in animal rights are no better than hate-filled pointy-headed racists? No. I'm saying that hate really has one facial expression. And whoever is on the receiving end of it probably won't go home thinking, Gee. I never thought of it THAT way. I'm sure glad they expanded my consciousness to accommodate their righteous path. Gee, THANKS BLOOD TOSSING INVECTIVE SPEWING SELF RIGHTEOUS HARRIDANS! I really needed that!

If you're a meat eater cheering my tirade, good. That's my comedy. But realistically?

It's a fact, btw. Vast consumption of meat is an untenable choice for a planet already pushed to the breaking point. Like people saying the tides ain't rising and that pollution isn't eating a hole in the sky. Let's at least agree to see the things that are really going on. Then we can decide about sacrifices.

The shrieking vegans aren't suggesting that people perhaps consider cutting back on meat, starting with a few nights a week. No. I'm pretty sure some of them would like to exterminate humans

Yes. I've seen FB posts that are almost that bad.


What to Let Go Of and what to boot in the ass....

Half measures are proven impossibilities for SOME life changes. I'll give an example with which I'm brutally familiar. Getting loaded. I remember a simple test from decades ago, designed to identify one's proximity to being an actual alcoholic. It was simply this:

If you can have one drink a day for thirty consecutive days - no more than one drink and no less than one drink - and it doesn't bother you, you're probably not an alcoholic.

I knew immediately that I'd have difficulty with that. I could skip days, but if I had one, I was off to the races. Because of the complexity of that particular ailment - alcoholism - it took much longer for me to realize that complete abstention would be the only way I'd live.

Because of support groups, the world upside down feeling that quitting gave me was not only mitigated, my life became filled with moments, events and possibilities I'd never even dreamed of.

Did anyone yell at me and/or other newcomers? Very rarely. They became poster children for how recovery didn't have to be.

There will always be islands of self-righteousness within all of us. I cannot lie: I'm apt to love you the most, you adorable human being, you, if I find out you have had a CAUSE about which I've been largely ignorant.

Here's an example of my own - I don't know whether to call it just being human or downright hypocritical: I've always been against capital punishment. But the older I get, I'm surprised to find surges of feeling not so strongly about that.

I understand the people who show up to protest executions. I don't know how they do it. I mean, I know they just buy poster board and take a few candles and drive a long way and make their point known. What I don't get is his how they tolerate the 'kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out' bunch of counter-protestors who show up.

I've seen victim's relatives forgive the bastards who've murdered their beloved. And I've seen the ones whose lives have been eaten up with unending pain and hate, almost extending the effects of the crime into infinity.

Because I have not had ANYthing approximating that burden in my own heart, I can only pray that I'd end up on the side of the former. And, barring that, that my compassion, however one may find it misguided, can be as fully with the latter.

Hating haters has always been one of my glaring defects. Several years ago, I moved where the Klan had laptops and meth labs and I even saw their damned fancy robes in dry-cleaning plastic hanging in their truck windows.

I heard people trying to assure me that they weren't racist by actually saying, "Well, there's WHITE niggers, too."

Because I spent every second of the first twenty six years of my life way below the Mason Dixon line, I knew damn well what they meant. It made me sick to my stomach, but I knew what they were trying to say. Exactly. And, sadly, if I had to illustrate their mindless example, it was their image that would appear next to the definition.

Then my Mother, whose humanity exerted itself in both deeply personal and universally applicable ways, spoke to me about my attitude. She said that I might want to be careful.

That I sounded about bigots the same way that they sounded about the many varieties of people they hated.

And because she DIDN'T scream this at me, I heard her. I realized she was right. I hated them. I did not want to associate with them. If one of my sisters married one, I wouldn't want to visit them. In short: I was no different.

Faced with the challenge of loving people, individually or collectively, who were actively embarked on making life hard or impossible for others because of skin pigment, sexual preference - which is biology, too.... I had to at least try.

And you know what? In theory, it's working. If I don't see your birther bullshit dressed up like a sudden concern for Constitutional respect, then I love you like another perfect, flawed child of the same Creator.

If I don't see the white spittle at the corners of your mouth while you're shooting it off, busy busy hating some of the really lower down things on the totem pole of what's important, it is easy to love you, too.

I know an animal lover who sat on huge piles of stockpiled money never helping a single animal with a medical emergency in a community where there were many: who never actually transported ONE animal in his own car.

And you guessed it. Some of the bloodiest, most awful posts came from this person.

And in this last completely true bit, to be continued later...

Someone told me - as I was about to put honey in my tea at a restaurant that to ensure more potent honey, that the head of the male bee is ripped off at the moment he ejaculates and that, therefore, I was contributing to animal cruelty by putting honey in my tea.


We'll let you know how that turned out next.

Thanks for checking in.

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