Energy is intense right now, right?! The whole United States is feeling feelings!
Amidst all the resistance and fear and protest and negativity, I wanted to express/suggest something else:
I am excited. I feel very goddamn strong.
All the ugly has to come out if we're going to annihilate it (that goes for personal and public matters; the micro and the macro) and the progressive population needed to realize that buying a Prius ain't enough.
In my 10+ years of vegan activism, the worst offenders have been progressive people who won't change the personal choices that are destructive to the world; "conscious" people who reform instead of revolutionize their habits; smart, caring people who have the wherewithal to vastly change markets and society with their personal agency, and don't. They are the meditating, electric-car-driving, organic-meat-buying, Greenpeace-donating, outraged-by-police-shooting types who merely voice their concerns or throw money at bandaids versus participating in the most effective solutions. Their concerns about the world do almost nothing to change it.
In light of Trump's election, this demographic wants to make sure that the progressive agenda is not reversed or ignored. This is an opportune time for us to make veganism's power known.
It's time to step up OUR game and promote the political motivations behind veganism—matters of healthcare, energy, environment, labor and workers' rights, feminism, gender, racism, subsidies, pharmaceuticals, water, local and global food distribution—all the dimensions of life which are, in fact, more immediately affected by people's everyday choices than by any legislation these cockamamie politicians will or will not support in the coming years.
The question we need to pose now to the population upset about Trump is, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? In other words, where are you pushing and pulling your money? What are you going to eat? What do you do for anyone or anything besides yourself? Are your habits revolutionary or just reformist? Comforting or effective?
I'm not afraid of what's coming because I see all sides. I know transformation, I know my power, and I know WHAT TO DO now. Death cycles bring life cycles. A new America is not on Trump, it's on us.
P.S. Sending a little love from a time of deeply spiritual and effective opposition (play this loud!):
Let’s call it love—the indestructible pulse that remains even when you’re burned out, at the end of your rope; the thing that drives your tolerance of heartbreak, anger, ridicule, discomfort, frustration, static—even attempts at public humiliation; it is the same force that, in other moments, will have you knowing and feeling the greatest, most profound potential in anyone and of any thing.
Earth Day can be a melancholy day for activists—it’s such a lowly gesture, mostly devoid of any real recognition that we are in fact solar/lunar/water/oxygen beings, dependent on the wellbeing of the earth. Yesterday I found myself at a “green" expo, surrounded by some awesome companies doing effective and meaningful work, and others that were, for example, handing out plastic promotional items—wrapped in plastic bags, no less—and serving dairy ice cream. I had a great time sharing Help Yourself and feeding a non-vegan crowd samples of my superfood trail mix and kale salad recipes, but it was spiked with moments where I felt an oppressive mundanity, the lack of a spiritual dimension in the work being done, supposedly in the name of the earth.
If you’re working for the vegan movement, you constantly have to hold a death force right along with the life force you’re trying to infuse into everything you do. The culture of death is an undercurrent in our society, one we're simultaneously working against and alongside of. I think women, especially, are the most capable of tolerating this task. We are both the receptacles of everyone’s energy and the nurturers of everyone’s energy, constantly internalizing and externalizing the flow. After the green expo, I felt two opposing things—the confidence and high of meaningful activism as well as the culture of death that persists through peoples’ destructive and unconscious habits. A green expo is the last place you want to feel the latter.
So on my way home, I cried. It may have had some to do with unrelated grief, but what’s not related when it’s happening inside you?
This is the moment where, if we want to go on—being an artist, an activist, a parent, a business owner, whatever we are—we have to effectively transmute the energies we hold. For me, transmutation feels like a a torrent, a tidal wave, a wash of all the things I’ve absorbed rising to the surface to seek oxygen, out of my skin and veins and eyes and lungs and mouth. I’ve made a practice of letting it come, because I’ve learned again and again that the only relief is to head through it, not around.
It’s quiet after, and anything is possible again. You know you can hold all the energies, everyone’s energies—life energies and death forces. We continue to exist—full, holding, acting, waiting, and being patient…because love keeps trying.
Earth Day, every day.
'Ya hear? Leave me a comment below...
Because I am an information hound and like to keep my arsenal of animal knowledge stocked (and because I like to win arguments), I'm reading a beautiful book you should read, too, called Of Orcas and Men: What Killer Whales Can Teach Us by David Neiwert.
If you loved Blackfish, you'll gain heaps more in-depth, but easy-to-read knowledge from this book, which is full of absolutely stunning information about the minds and lives of these animals, both free and captive. It's the kind of reading that makes your heart soar/ache and fills you with a sense of solidarity with other activists and a (re)commitment to veganism.
SIDE NOTE: Every time I post something like this that advocates for a specific species, I always get comments from people who have to poo on the parade by asking, "What about cows and chickens and pigs?" Can we agree not to do that anymore?
Even if I understand the sentiment, I don't want us thinking that gaining peoples' compassion is a zero sum game—as if it cancels out the possibility of gaining their compassion for other species. It's no doubt a healthier outlook to think of compassion as an endless resource instead of a limited one if we are going to go on with any activism at all.
Duh, it can be maddeningly annoying when people love some animals and eat others, but winning a piece of anyone's heart/brain for any animal opens a small crack through which other information might seep in.
It's great to be critical, but let's never hate on a win, please. They're not easy to come by (though it helps if you have solid arguments...which brings me back to this book!).
Let me know what you think of Of Orcas and Men, happy reading!
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