Seriously, Natalie, I have the greatest respect for your compassion, and your drive, and your values, and your save-the-animals approach to life, and I don't want anything I say to make you think otherwise. You and I often disagree on these pages, but I think the real disagreement is usually one of semantics or degree, not of substance. Five minutes together in a face-to-face discussion would clear up any misunderstanding we may have.
thanks for the kind words.
Imagine we are at a wedding. You and me and a long-time friend of mine are all sitting at the same table with several other guests. Try to imagine this person. He is intelligent, passionate, and value-driven. He believes that ethics are the most important thing in life. He believes that keeping quiet when faced with an ethical decision is the same as giving-in to the forces of evil and will cause him to be damned to hell. He is also a die-hard, gun-totting, NRA-backing, hunter. One of his greatest thrills is to eat raw liver from a freshly killed buck while the blood dribbles down his cheeks and throat. To him, the hunt, the chase, and the kill are ways that he becomes closer to his god. It is spirituality at its deepest and it is so basic to his personality that he is offended by any blasphemous suggestion that what he is doing is wrong. (---Hang on Nat---I am not defending this person---I am just setting the scene).
Okay let us try to think of another situation here. If you were at a gathering where you are with your friend, and your friend has, as one of his greatest thrills, the desire to slap his woman around at social gatherings, would you similarly "give in" so as not to offend this apparently core belief of his, by slapping your own woman around? What if you treat your woman like gold, and he intreprets this as a "blasphemous suggestion that what he is doing is wrong."
In your scenario, I would, as a vegan, pass up the meat. If I was concerned about ruining a wedding, I would pass it up quietly, without making a "animal rights debate" out of it. Honestly, to think that one guest's preference for anaimal free dishes will ruin an entire wedding seems like a bit of an exaggeration to me. Where there is a will (i.e. a will to be vegan), there is always a way.
I believe in doing the right thing, not only when it is convenient, but especially when it is not.
Can you imagine the scene? You politely and discretely pass up the main meat dish. He is intrigued and inquires. You respond. He responds. You. Him. You. Him. Before long you are (perhaps) yelling all the things you wrote in you last post and he is (almost certainly) yelling right back with his own littany.
When he is intrigued and asks, you can respond in such a way where your response answers the question but at the same time discourages further discussion, if you are concerned that this will escalate into a shouting match and ruin the wedding. The following responses are off the top of my head "I personally feel healthier on a plant-based diet." "veganism has always intrigued me and I want to see for myself what all the "hype" is about". "There are multiple reasons for my veganism, and I would be more than happy to discuss them with you at another time and place. For now, let's go get another beer!" [or whatever your poison is
]. "Veganism is the right decision for me
." If you see that he is going to go off about it, then your second, and final response to him might be "let us just agree to disagree" or "everybody must do what they feel is right for them."
Note that none of these responses are the way that I would personally handle that situation, especially the last two responses above, because I think that veganism is not just right for me or you, but for everybody else out there that has cruelty free options. BUt if your concern is about ruining a wedding, then these responses are non-confrontational and non-threatening.
Would it be right to destroy this wedding? Especially when such a guest is clearly not receptive to your ideas?
You see, Nat, I don't have to imagine the shouting and the incriminations and the hurt feelings and the bitterness. I've lived through them. At every social gathering of my childhood. The discussions were not about animal rights, but they could have been. The topics were Christianity vs Atheism, the Vietnam War, civil rights for blacks, abortion for women, labor vs big business, or how the CIA was training insurgents in Afghanistan to resist the Soviet invasion (the leader was a little-known guy named Osama Bin Laden)... each one guaranteed to bust up a social gathering.
Like I said, you neednt discuss even a word of animal rights - just eat the eat the meet free dishes. You should have to sell out your own principles because of irrational, unreasonable people. Just skip the meat, and if somebody asks why, give them a short and sweet answer, essentially deferring the discussion to another time if that is what you feel is appropriate.
If they want more, and then later get offended by your honest response to THEIR questions in the first place, well then again, that is just pathetic, and unreasonable.
Now if your veg*ism offends the hostess, well, that would just be too pathetic and irrational and unreasonable to even dignify with a response.
When did you meet my family?
You dont need to bring up animal rights, as you put it, at a gathering, but that doesnt mean you also cannot stick to your vegan ethics at these gatherings. "Speaking about animals rights" at a social gathering is obviously not the same thing as passing up meat dishes at a social gathering. You can be totally silent on animal rights issues at a social gathering, yet stick to the animal free dishes. In other words, you can skip the meat and never even mention the word animals the entire time you are there.
I absolutely agree. But remember, that at the time Mike was talking about he had not made an ethical commitment to the cause (if I understand him correctly). BTW, you can stick to the animal-free dishes... if there are any. I have been to gatherings where every dish contained some sort of animal product. This is why I said that there is a time and a place for everything. The time is before the gathering; the place is when you are alone with the hostess. Let her know your preferences. Make sure there will be enough food, or offer to bring your own, or eat well before hand...
Hmm...well, what would a committed vegetarian or vegan do if they showed up at a gathering where every dish had an animal product. Easy..they wouldnt be eating anything at the gathering, but probably chow down as soon as they got home cuz they would be hungry. But to eat dead animals at a social gathering because you have no other options there
seems to me to be indicative of a lack of seriousness about being vegan/vegeterian.
I love you, Nat. You are an inspiration to all of us.
likewise my friend
edited to add: I encourage everybody that has even an inkiling that there is something "very good" about veganism to make a genuine and unwaivering commitment to this lifestyle; to take it up in their hearts and minds, not just occasionally or even mostly on their plates.