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October 16– “Enjoying the BEST chicken dinner — at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant.”
October 16– “Back for lunch, an amazing Cuban pork sandwich with homemade chips, so good — at Porto’s Bakery.”
October 15– “Onion loaf — at Tony Roma’s Ribs, Seafood & Steak.”
October 13– “Filet mignon with crab cakes. All gone.”
October 12– “Enjoying desserts — at Porto’s Bakery and Cafe in Burbank,CA.”
I’m just picturing what those poor tortured birds went through…
The response I got was this:
“Elisa, we get it. You don’t eat meat. Please keep your negativity to your own page. You are not going to change anyones mind.”
My second comment:
My “negativity” is simply the truth. Those birds were tortured for your meal…no doubt about it. Yes, you’re absolutely correct– I won’t change any minds that are closed to empathy and compassion. And yet– I have changed minds. Those people have told me so.
R.W.P’s next response was to “unfriend” me.
I’m going to expand on my original response here, now that I’ve had the chance to reflect for a while. Here are some questions and comments that come to mind.
- No, I don’t think R.W.P does “get it” at all. If he truly got “it,” then he wouldn’t be eating animals either.
- “It” is not about me. ”It” is not about what I eat. ”It” is about empathizing with other living beings and acting with compassion.
- What is the “we” all about? ”Elisa, we get it.” Is R.W.P attempting to speak for all of my non-vegan Facebook friends? Instead of the dialogue staying between us, is he recruiting his own imaginary crew of backers so that he can feel more supported in his animal consumption? As if animal consumers aren’t already in the majority? (Yet– in that one Facebook moment, there was just 1 animal advocate and 1 animal consumer.)
- Take notice of what R.W.P didn’t say. He didn’t say, “No, Elisa, you’re wrong. Those birds weren’t tortured.” Think about that.
- Did I spoil some of R.W.P’s palate pleasure with my negative truth telling? Did I temper his Facebooking enthusiasm by exposing the experience of the chicken underneath the breading? For even just a few seconds– did I force R.W.P to also picture what those poor tortured birds went through?
- I’m not going to change ANYone‘s mind? Not even one? What a horrible world to imagine
- I’m not going to change anyone’s minds about what? (“What” could mean just about anything.)
I’m noticing a pattern on Facebook. ”Keep it on your Facebook page.” R.W.P isn’t the first FB friend to type that, and he certainly won’t be the last. But, I’ve figured out one thing with certainty through this latest Facebook experience:
As long as my “voice” on behalf of animals stays on my Facebook page, then no one else has to “listen.” Close-minded people can just scroll down the page. Pretend not to see. Refuse to look. Deny.
On the other hand, when I comment on a friend’s Facebook page, it’s different. My voice, the animal’s voice, can no longer be ignored. The ugly, violent, bloody, negative (!) reality demands acknowledgement, whether the friend on the receiving end makes a written comment about it or not.
The “problem” for some people is that they’re suddenly forced to take some of the personal responsibility that they’d been avoiding. They can no longer pretend that they aren’t an active participant in the violence. They can no longer pass the buck. The buck just stopped with them. It’s threatening.
What might happen next? You get unfriended.
Bottom line: It’s not about me and it’s not about you. It’s about the bird. It’s about the living being. That piece of “chicken” belonged to an animal who cared about her own life. Please picture the kind of life that the chicken would have wanted. Please protect that life.
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” -Edward Everett Hale
Questions & Answers / Comments & Questions
[In this category of blog posts, I provide “Answers to Questions”...or I pose “Questions to Comments.” The quoted material will be actual, unedited statements directed toward me at one time or another.]
#1…Fart In The Wind
This comment was directed at me:
“I don’t understand how anyone that is so self righteous about an ethical issue like this can continue to justify their existence in the world today. Clearly living in any part of the developed world you are contributing to the exploitation of humans and other animals without exception. Being a strict vegan hardly matters if you are worried about exploitation of living beings unless you give up all the other trappings of this modern world. If a vegan were to give it all up and live off the grid and subsist entirely on crops that grew with out aid of petro or animal fertilizer I could have some respect for their opinion and righteous indignation. Otherwise it’s just like a fart in the wind.”
1. Is it **self-righteous to:
- Speak on behalf of exploited animals?
- Bring awareness to animal exploitation?
- State that exploiting others unnecessarily is wrong?
- Verbalize how exploitation can be prevented/abolished?
- Question people with difficult, but important questions?
- Ask people to take reasonable, practical, tangible actions to help animals?
- Advocate for positive change?
2. Is this person trying to make a case for why I should go back to consuming animals or why he shouldn’t have to go vegan?
3. If I can’t prevent every single instance of human or animal exploitation “without exception,” then is it pointless to make an attempt?
4. Should I kill myself or else stop being vegan? (Because simply by living, I consume, I use resources, and I have a negative carbon footprint on the world.)
5. Have I ever stated that going vegan means that vegans make a zero contribution to global human/animal exploitation? (The answer is no.)
6. Should I give up “all the other trappings” of this modern world or else stop being vegan?
7. Would I really gain the respect of this person if I “gave it all up, lived off the grid and subsisted entirely on crops I grew without aid of petro or animal fertilizer?”
8. Am I really stating an “opinion” when I point out the ways that animals are exploited…or when I state that animal-free alternatives do exist…or when I verbalize that animals would rather live than die if given the choice?
9. Is this person saying that my words are like a fart in the wind or that my impact living as a vegan is like a fart in the wind?
10. Speaking of farts…Is this person saying that farts in the wind are insignificant? What about the collective farts of all the dairy and beef cattle in the world? Are those farts impacting global climate change? Are cow farts just “farts in the wind?”
11. Should it matter to me if I gain the respect of someone who makes a comment such as this one? What do you think of this person’s comment?
**Definition: Self-righteousness (from Wikipedia)…
“Self-righteousness (also called sanctimoniousness, sententiousness, a holier-than-thou attitudes) is a feeling of (usually) smug moral superiority derived from a sense that one’s beliefs, actions, or affiliations are of greater virtue than those of the average person.
The term “self-righteous” is often considered derogatory particularly because self-righteous individuals are often thought to exhibit hypocrisy due to the belief that humans are imperfect and can therefore never be infallible.”