We’re spending far too much time – far too much – coddling omnis and patting everybody on the head and in essence telling people that veganism is optional. No, it isn’t, in the exact same way that sexism and homophobia and racism are not optional. Yes, all of those things exist, but we do not tell the people who perpetuate them that they’re doing the best they can.
It’s no wonder to me that the AR movement is as ineffective as it is right now. We’re so hung up on begging for acceptance from the larger culture that we’ve allowed that to completely obscure our message. We’ve taken the entirely doable, absolutely necessary concrete first step – veganism – and stuck it up on a pedestal, as this lofty and unattainable ideal, that, well, a few folks may choose to practice, but really, if you can’t, you’re “doing the best you can.”
No, you’re not.
Everything PETA does – even the button-pushing, silly stuff – is hung up on this notion that we must beg for acceptance from the larger culture; PETA is convinced (not without reason) that they have to do something to shock people. The problem is that once they’ve shocked people, there’s nothing behind that message, at all. Once we’ve grabbed some eyeballs with an animal rights “community” at Change.org, or any of zillion other organized movement-y things, we bugger up the message with “Sign these 900 petitions against Sarah Palin! Something has to be done about aerial alaskan timberwolf hunting with AK-47’s by sitting Republican state governors who are women!”
“Sign my petition against sport hunting exotic animals with bows and arrows!”
Not that I’m defending Sarah Palin or sport hunting or any of the rest of it. Those of you who know me from the PETA forum know I’m not. But we’re wasting our time with what amounts to small-potatoes edge cases, while essentially ignoring the mass consumption of animals by the general public. We’re promoting the completely false message that there’s some ethical difference between eating flesh and eating cheese.
In the larger scheme of things, while folks are still killing tens of billions of animals a year in order to eat them, spending this amount of time and effort on edge cases is the wrong, wrong, wrong approach.