Knock knock

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There’s a ‘joke’ going round that goes like this:

How do you know when someone is vegan?
Don’t worry, they’ll soon tell you!

It always gets a laugh from nonvegans. Yesterday, it was recited to me by someone who had to raise their own laugh. I have heard it so often, I scarcely react, but once again it occurred to me just how carefully we vegans tread in this nonvegan world. We navigate our cautious way through the sea of blue touchpapers that one simply has to brush lightly against to uncover hostile justification of humanity’s most sickening atrocities.

Walking softly

Do we tread so carefully because our cause lacks truth or because we lack conviction? No, in fact I believe the reverse is true. Most vegans are utterly honest, having started by facing the lies they were fed from the cradle, having challenged their entire philosophy of life, having admitted to themselves that they were participants in an outrage of epic proportions against fellow sentient beings and finally having consciously decided to live true to their values.

It is my experience that most vegans must exercise considerable self control. In a similar way to how nonvegans have become utterly disconnected with the bloodbath they are causing, vegans must disconnect from those people they meet in their everyday lives who are not vegan. When surrounded by casual cruelty, people laughing over the bloodied corpses of sweet and helpless creatures, chatting cheerfully as they consume the eggs or milk of tortured slaves whose reproductive processes have been abused and exploited, maternal instincts trashed and mocked, and their pitiful existences spent in fear and misery,  it is vital to disconnect to an extent or our entire lives would be spent in heart-rending grief.

This casual horror is particularly hurtful when it involves nonvegans who are friends or family. Although we may love them, we cannot love what they do and for almost all vegans, it is our fervent hope that someday we may draw aside the veil of their wilful blindness about the awful consequences of their actions and have them share our values.

We tread warily however, having discovered that where once we hoped for interest, eagerness for information, and a sharing of our values, we now expect to meet mainly defensive hostility and a predictable and unoriginal range of excuses in support of the indefensible. We walk softly so as not to completely alienate those whom we still hope to reach, someday.

So yes, I’m vegan

How do you know when someone is vegan? Well I’m guilty as charged. I will soon tell you. But the real reason is probably not the one that the ‘joking’ nonvegan finds so amusing.

When we meet others. even in the most casual of circumstances, we share information about ourselves, glean information about those whom we meet. Through this sharing, we find common interests, experiences and outlooks and we subconsciously assess the nature of any future relationship we may have with them or reaffirm our existing bonds. If I were to list the things that I consider are important about me and my experience in life I will tell you that I’m vegan because it’s the main thing there is to know about me.  It sums up my values and all the lessons life has taught me. Veganism has become synonymous with who I am as a person and to tell you that I am vegan is baring my soul.

So if you are not vegan, the next time you hear that someone is, please hold back on the hilarity for a moment and consider the sincerity that underlies their words. Consider how this word ‘vegan’ can describe the most important thing there is to know about another person and give serious thought to looking into it further. You may find you have more common ground than you thought.

See http://vegankit.com/ for more information.

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8 Responses to Knock knock

  1. thank you for such an eloquent post… i agree with you wholeheartedly…

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  2. Melody I’m glad to hear that you intend to become vegan – I’m sure you will get there with determination. Becoming vegan is not simply adopting a completely vegetarian diet but includes the rejection of all forms of animal exploitation. It’s the recognising that other beings are not ours to use and destroy as we see fit. I’m afraid you would class me as a ‘die hard vegan’ because I assert that 1) veganism is an absolute set of values, it’s black and white, we cause harm or we don’t. We would never agree that murder, child abuse or domestic violence is ok if we just cut back on it drastically; we all agree that these things are completely wrong. If someone states that murder is wrong, we would never call them ‘die hard’. Vegans advocating against harming others are applying the same principles. And 2) I am a die hard vegan because I am not the helpless victims, imprisoned, enslaved, existing in misery and dying in fear and agony of nonvegan ‘choices’. Only our victims have the right to approve or disapprove our unnecessary use of their bodies. I am always happy to try to provide advice or encouragement to nonvegans in transition, but neither I nor any other vegan has the authority to approve or condone any level of nonveganism on behalf of the suffering billions for whom we fight – that must be for the conscience of the individual to decide.

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  3. I have been working on becoming a vegan since late Feb of this year. Tried going complete “cold turkey” so to speak ,and found out that really wasn’t the best way to go after 46 years of eating meat, dairy and eggs. I love a good steak cooked on a grill, and fried chicken, but I honestly don’t think that I would even be able to eat either one now. Although, I know that I would love the taste, it just doesn’t appeal to me at all anymore because of what it was. When I do cheat, I always choose a seafood dish. Since Feb., I’ve eaten a meal with beef 2x, pork 1x and chicken 2x….shrimp, maybe 4x. I do still eat an occasional egg or piece of cheese though, I know for a die hard vegan that that is not good enough, but believe me…I am working at it. Even my boyfriend has made his diet mostly plant based and grain free, but will occasionally give in to one of his 2 favorite foods…a hot dog on a white bun or sushi. Even if people don’t care about the cruelty of the animals (although they should), they should at least take in to consideration their own health. Just with my drastic, but not complete consumption of animal products, I lost about 20 lbs (and that was with an injured knee where I couldn’t even do much)! I do not understand anyone cutting down a vegan for their food choices, but I also have an issue with die hard vegans cutting down those or us who have reduced their animal based foods to less than 90%. It’s not perfect. but it’s still a hell of a reduction in demand.

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  4. cushpigsmum says:

    This resonated deeply with me today, having been visiting my elderly mother this morning. I am perplexed that a person so otherwise gentle and caring should so resist the message of veganism and continue to fund animal abuse in agriculture whilst caring about donkeys, cats and dogs. She talks about food constantly and wounds me often now, heedlessly. She clearly cannot understand why mentioning ‘smoked haddock’ and ‘boiled bacon’ should offend or upset me. Biting my tongue has become a regular feature of my weekly visits to her.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. cushpigsmum says:

    Reblogged this on iliketowritewhatithink and commented:
    Echoes my own thoughts perfectly.

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  6. ruth says:

    well said!

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  7. Jimie Gibbon says:

    Although I’ve. Never been one to hold my tongue when it comes to my feelings.n being a peace loving vegan but also was raised on the tough streets of Brooklyn.n work in the construction industry. Im pretty much on my own in my lifestyle but get no grief. N get my point across.its either my charming personality or thr fact that im a badass with a peace sign.much truth to what you wrote n will be sharing .

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