Hopeful Thoughts on an American Election
I am vegan. This simple fact puts me in "opposition" on a daily basis with almost every other American, 98% (or so) to be exact.
I am a vegan because i think it's the most elegant solution to MANY of our society's biggest problems. It can lead us to dramatically improve: environment, human health, and spiritual aptitude.
For me, the most guiding force down this path was the ethical treatment of animals and other non-human sentient beings. It is wrong to kill. it is wrong to kill unless it's an unavoidable act of self-defense. It is wrong to torture or hold captive animals for our use or entertainment when they would otherwise live much different lives. Any sentient being has the right to live naturally, and we do not have the right to exploit them because they are less organized than we are. Eating or using animals in any way is an egregious affront to my morals and what I believe. It is a preying on the weak that is, to me, on par with The Holocaust - and it happens every day.
I feel so strongly in fact that I've completely dedicated my life and career to the cause. This is my advocacy, in action, every day. This is my service to God.
But if I spent my life looking around for other vegans, or people who agreed in both thought and action, I'd be a miserable and lonely person. I am in the vast minority of people in this country. Almost no one agrees with me. I accept that.
Instead of looking for people who agree with me, I choose to accept people for what they believe. If they ask my advice about diet or health, I'll give it, lovingly, and in the spirit of meeting them where they are.
I am a vegan, I believe deeply in God, and I believe in market-based solutions to problems. You can debate the sub-issues under each of those beliefs, and I do on a regular basis with people who are respectful and reasonable and don't take a difference in opinion as a personal attack.
But also, let me say this: I respect your opinion and your choices. And while I've come to expect almost nothing from other people over the years, I will openly admit that i expect that same basic privilege in return.
That said, most of my friends are liberal, omnivorous, atheists. I love them anyways. I search for the things that connect us, not the things that separate us. A love of indie films, champagne-filled frolicking evenings, deep conversations about love, mutual support as we continue to grow and open businesses, buy homes, have babies... you name it. That is friendship, that is caring, that is love.
We should be surrounding ourselves with good people, not just people who agree with our positions on things. We must look for that which connects us, not that which separates us.
I've lost a few dear friends this week, not because I was pro-Trump or pro-Hillary, but actually because I stated no opinion. This is a shame, and it's the opposite of how we should be behaving as friends, lovers, communities, and ultimately as a nation.
If your side won, congratulations - the vote has been cast, let's see how this goes. If your side lost, I'm sorry - I understand you're hurt and in mourning, and I feel for you. either way, please keep your head up. Please keep dialogues open with friends and strangers alike, and please try to meet all this change with love, compassion, and open-mindedness. We are all in this together.
We are a great nation, founded on freedom and individual liberty. We are still a great nation. We are a large cruising ship, not a dingy bouncing around in the ocean. We will get through this, and we will be stronger for it.
In the words of Ram Dass "we are all just walking each other home."
Much love, and God bless.