29 October 2008

Vegetarians, Meat Eaters, and Proposition 8

The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan are two books that have influenced my eating habits tremendously.








They have led me to eat less meat, try to exclude milk from my diet, read the labels on all the food I buy, and be more leery of USDA recommendations on what I should and should not include in my diet (the dairy and beef industries have deep pockets and lots of lobbyists in Washington).

You could say that I’m passionate about this. So passionate, in fact, that many of my friends have been informed over dinner about why I buy soy milk and why I study food labels in the grocery store. Most of them think I’m crazy and could care less about processed foods and controlling their meat intake. I’ve learned that I can’t force them to change, and I try to not let their disdain for my views cause me to change.

I do face some discrimination, but I can deal with that. One of my friends, not knowing I was trying out vegetarianism, told me that he couldn’t be friends with a vegetarian. I just smiled and nodded.

Now, imagine if legislation were passed that made eating meat illegal. Outback, Black Angus, and Ruth’s Chris would all be shut down over night if they didn’t change their menus. If the steakhouses somehow found a way to serve contraband beef, there would be extreme legal implications. The vegetarians would go mad, call their lawyers, and make sure not a single ounce of meat was served, no matter the cost to the shut-out businesses.

In this battle, who’s right, the vegetarians or the meat-eating majority? I don’t think it matters. It has often been said that any given man or woman is free to do whatever he or she wants until his or her hand hits the next person’s face. In other words, the meat eaters are free to eat meat, and the vegetarians are free to abstain, but neither group can force its views on any other group without infringing upon the freedoms of others.

You’re probably wondering where this post came from and where it’s going. In a roundabout way, it’s about Proposition 8 in California. There is a substantial group of people in California that are absolutely appalled that marriage is currently defined as between only a man and a woman. Their personal views have given them a broader definition of what marriage is, and they are fighting for legislation to make their view the legal view. From a human rights standpoint, they have a pretty good argument. But have they thought about what will happen to other people if the definition of marriage is changed and enforced? Honestly, I don’t think most of them care.

If Proposition 8 doesn’t pass, Born Again pastors, Mormon bishops, Catholic priests, and other religious leaders who are legally authorized to perform marriages in California could be forced to perform same-sex marriages, even if, for moral reasons, they oppose the practice. I can only imagine the legal battles and the detriment California’s religious organizations would face if they were to oppose performing gay marriages.

My views on food are shared by only a minority of people. It is one thing for me to talk about them with friends and family, but it’s another thing for me to use the law to make them everyone’s standard. I will admit that changes must be made to accommodate the freedoms of all, but voting no on Proposition 8 is not the way to do it. A subject this delicate needs delicate legislation that guarantees that my fist won’t hit my neighbor’s face, and vice versa.

One company I really like is Seventh Generation. As a guiding rule, they think of the effect their products will have not only on the next generation, but up to seven generations and beyond. As we vote in this election, no matter what state we’re in, let us vote thinking of more than just the immediate effect our yes or no will have.

And if you’re in California, vote YES on Proposition 8.

13 comments:

Marie said...

I appreciate this post. Thank you for saying very point-blank what needed to be said, and for making that great comparison. I must admit that I had no idea you were a vegan- very informative.

Strawboat said...

:) nice tie in. I hope that agency prevails as well; in the election and in everyones eating habits.

Michael said...

PS, I eat meat, just "sparingly."

dede said...

well you got my click.

Diane said...

Once again, very well written. You are right...a subject this delicate needs delicate legislation. We really do need to think seven generations down the road.

Cambria Marie said...

Hi Michael. Found your blog through your Facebook. I completely agree with your though on prop 8. Personally, I would vote yes on prop. 8 if I could. I would not be okay to have my nieces, nephews needless to say my own children having to learn about homosexuality when they're in 5 years old.

Robyn said...

Sorry for serving you pork on Sunday...ha ha! I want to read those books. And good point...I don't think people realize the consequences changing the definition of marriage would have. Want to write a guest post on fitmepink about what you've learned about meat, by the way?

Kimberly said...

Nice post...your words gave me chills!

Missy said...

I completly agree that marriage is between a man and a woman. Although, I must admit I don't really care what other people are up to as long as my hand isn't forced. The thing I really worry about is what else is tacked on to proposition 8? On Robyn's video everything was good until it came to a part about adoption. It said some churches have had to pull their adoption agencies out of certain states so gay people could not adopt. I don't think anyone should be forced to perform a marriage that goes against what they believe, but I also don't believe a child should be forced to live with being tossed around in foster care because the people who are willing to love them are gay. What have they tacked on to proposition 8? There's always something.

Marie said...

I just wanted to say again, thank you for taking a stance for what is good in the world. I was going to comment on this lady's blog, but she probably wouldn't post it, and I'm not an eloquent speaker. So, as it is, I'm just giving it to you so that you can share the rage with me. I don't expect you to comment, but it's there if you feel inclined to do so. You're awesome, Michael.
http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/2008/11/political-dirty-tricks-and-my-position.html

Missy said...

I've read proposition 8 now. There is nothing tacked on, but turns out there should have been something, in my opinion. Its not just a definition and I don't believe it protects anything. It does allow for certain privlages to be taken away and its disappointing to me. I would hate for some religion or other to start making "definitions" that interfere with my life and privleges. I don't like it "even if the whole [church] thinks I'm crazy." But I sure like you, and your cute sisters.

Tina said...

wow, have you ever thought of running for any kind of office? We could sure use some good, level headed senators, congressmen.....
I'm going to look into those books too. I am a SUGAR addict, and I LOVE red meat. I know, gross to you....

Becky Glover said...

Man you are a future politician...well said. I was already convinced of a few of your arguments but now I could argue in a debate and win:) I too am cutting out red meat, dairy etc... mine is a cleanse of my liver etc... I need to get off of the addiction I have to sugar and processed foods. I figured now was as good a time as any to start. So for two weeks I can only have chicken, turkey or fish and veggies, nuts (except peanuts) and water. This is my first day so I haven't felt the deprivation yet but I'm sure it will kick in and turn me into a major grump for a few days. But I agree read the labels, check out the milk your giving your kids and see whats put in it... it's a scary world. Be informed that's all your saying right:) "