How Veganism Helps Me Cope With Trump's Election

Keep Calm and Go VeganCredit: Jenn

My politics are what I'd call left of liberal. I've had people actually tell me that. And, while I'm disappointed with the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, I'm not devastated. You see, it's because I'm also a vegan.

Vegans are probably one of the most despised group in the world today, right behind ISIS and Al-Qaeda,  ridiculed equally by conservatives and progressives. Our crime? To show compassion for all living animals. Why does being vegan not make me want to take to the streets protesting Trump's election, you ask? Let me explain.

I believe there is no act more powerful and has a greater impact than what I put in my mouth to nourish my body, EVERY DAY! Every single person has this power! Whether they choose to express it or not, is their CHOICE.

GHG emissions from different diets.With this single choice, I have a smaller GHG footprint than most (except probably freegans). With this choice, I don't cause the unnecessary breeding and death of over 300 animals every year. With this choice, I help move the food system towards one that is healthier for people at all income levels.

This choice is mine alone. It doesn't matter who is in office; I can make a positive impact on the world just by my food choices, every day.

That makes me happy.

I know, I know, the typical stereotype of a vegan is someone who is always angry. I imagine that is how a liberal might be seen when surrounded by conservatives. Our anger comes from the frustration that the rest of the world refuses to see what we know about the exploitation of animals to the detriment of the animals, planet and other people even when we offer to show it to them. Oh hey, that is exactly how a liberal might feel when talking to their conservative friends and family about issues like climate change, corporate oligarchy or social justice. 

(UPDATE: Upon reading this post, a friend of mine made a great observation, which I had missed. Here is what she said, "in the same way as so many cannot believe people would vote for Trump, I similarly cannot believe people, once informed of all the animal suffering and environmental damage, resist becoming vegan.")

Except, rather than talk about some grandiose ideas about how the world ought to be and what the government should be doing to achieve it, vegans actually take charge and help shift the world towards those ideals.

That makes me powerful.

Even though it may not look it to outsiders, vegans are the happiest people I know. To experience this, visit a vegan event sometime, like Berkeley Vegan Earth Day or the Animal Rights Conference. Seriously, I've experienced withdrawal symptoms each time, after I've participated in the AR Conference from the feelings of general well-being, energy and hope being around such a diverse group of compassionate and active people.

Most people don't think of themselves as powerful in face of government and corporate forces. But, that powerlessness comes from the fear that their actions won't mean anything if the government doesn't force others to take those same actions. They are afraid to stand alone. Vegans have faced and overcome this fear. We live our values along with the hope that others will come to that realization too. That is where our strength comes from.

So, while I'm not happy that Trump will be the new President, I'm not losing sleep over it. I believe in the power of people to create peace. There are more of us than there are those who put greed and bigotry and divisiveness above a world where everyone feels welcome and has access to the resources to build a better life for themselves and their families.

We can choose to live more peaceful lives. And our choices can shape the world. I'm a vegan and I AM making the choice to change the world!

There's so much more to say on this topic but I don't want to be one of those vegans who just rants and rants. Incidentally, as I was writing this I got an email newsletter from Ruby Roth, a person I admire who had similar ideas.

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