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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Deep Thoughts

{WARNING: Rambling and possibly less than coherent writing ahead. Proceed at your own risk.}

I've had a lot of heavy thoughts rolling around in my little brain lately, and I'm sure I'm going to do a terrible job of articulating them, because they are the kind of deep thoughts that don't necessarily lend themselves well to written expression. Still, I want to try.

I think, as a vegan, I go through phases in my life where my vegan beliefs and lifestyle choices are more of a background component of who I am (I always practice them, I just don't always think about them so much; they feel more like habit). Then, there are other times, like now, when thoughts about animal rights and veganism seem to consume a lot of my mental and emotional energy. And it's not just animal stuff; I find myself thinking a lot about all kinds of social injustices and terrible things happening to people all over the world too.

I feel weighed down by all of the suffering in the world (both animal and human), and part of me feels helpless to make a difference. But then another part of me tells the first part, "That's bullshit. Quit being such a lame ass." I think what this sophisticated conversation between my two brains actually means is that I need to take on some kind of concrete, tangible task(s). I'm hoping if I do, I will feel useful and more hopeful.

As for what the tasks should be... well, that's a good question. As you may have noticed, I'm rather swamped with life as-is, and would probably be insane to take a bunch more stuff on. So I need to be smart, but still find a way to create more peace within myself. Matt and I have a couple of acres here; I'd love to provide a home for some rescued farm animals... chickens, turkeys, who knows... but I worry about keeping them safe from the dogs. We would need to make an investment of time and money to do some fencing or something I guess. I honestly have moments where I think I should uproot my entire life and go live in some far-off place where I can work with a sanctuary like Best Friends or Peaceful Prairie. I won't do it, but wouldn't it be great if I could? Or maybe direct animal contact isn't what I need to do - maybe I need to find ways to do more outreach and education? Ack, who knows. Suggestions are welcome.

I think part of my problem is I'm feeling very isolated and alone in the way I perceive the world and choose to life my life. None of my family is vegan, including my husband, which is tough sometimes, as much as I love him. I don't have any vegan friends (at least in real life, although I love all my bloggy pals) and I feel like it would be really empowering to be able to plug into some kind of network of like minded people and get involved in some kind of activism. But I live in the boondocks...

And moving beyond veganism and animal rights (the topics I am the most drawn to on a deep, instinctual level), I've been thinking a lot about politics and how much I hate feeling like I have to choose the lesser of two (or ten) evils. I'm sure I'm going to piss some people off here, but honestly the front runner Democratic candidates don't seem all that much better than the Republicans (okay, a little better, but really not much). They are all in the pockets of big corporations, and aren't liberal enough for me. I find myself feeling apathetic and avoiding watching or listening to any national news, because I'm so sick of hearing the same old crap over and over. I feel like most politicians' priorities are severely out of whack, and unfortunately that's probably true of most of the general population.

Consider this information, which I found on the No Impact Man blog some time ago...

Two 2006 studies reported the following statistics:
  • 58% believe climate change as a result of global warming has already begun
  • 58% also believe that increases in Earth’s temperature over the last century are due more to human activities than natural changes
  • 85% say global warming is probably happening
  • 88% think global warming threatens future generations
Sounds pretty good, right? Everybody's getting on board, realizing we have a serious problem here that needs to be dealt with... but wait - a 2007 poll by CBS news asked "What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?" and got the following responses:
  • 28% say War in Iraq
  • 16% say Economy/Jobs
  • 8% say Health care
  • 6% say Terrorism (general)
  • 5% say Immigration
  • 4% say Foreign policy
  • 3% say Poverty/homelessness
  • 3% say Defense/military
  • 3% say Misc. social issue
  • 3% say Misc. government issues
  • 16% say Other
  • 5% say Unsure
Whaaaaaaaaaat???? Where is 'Environment'? or 'Global Warming'??? In my mind, the environment and the problems we're inflicting on it are absolutely the most critical issue facing this entire planet's population right now. I just feel like I'm on a totally different page from 99% of politicians and 'Average Americans'. (God, that sounds smug and superior. I don't mean to sound that way, I really don't.)

Well, as far as politics go, I've decided rather than drop out completely, I'm going to do what I can to support the one candidate I actually respect and admire. Dennis Kucinich seems to me to be honest, straightforward, and about as liberal as they get on the national level. Plus, he's vegan, which certainly can't hurt! So, GO DENNIS!!!

And to throw another one at you, I've been reading Enrique's Journey during the last couple of days, and have found myself deeply affected by it. I don't know how anyone could read this book and not be changed by it, but in my case I have been drawing some parallels between certain characters and situations in the book and certain things I know or suspect about Carlos' birthfamily, so it all hits pretty close to home.

So, to add to the list of sadnesses weighing on my mind lately, I've now been thinking a ton about the plight of would-be illegal immigrants, both those who make it to the US and those who don't. The lives they lead, the people they leave behind, the horrors they endure on their quest for a better life, the brutal deaths that many ultimately face... well, it puts any little problems in my life in perspective, that's for sure.

Okay, okay, you are probably thinking I'm crazy by now, if you've actually stuck with me throughout this whole rambling post. I guess I just needed to get some things off my chest. If this is your first visit to my blog, come back again sometime, I usually post about pretty beads and jewelry and silly little pictures of my adorable son.


JudyM said...

Wow! I did read all the way through, two weren't rambling or incoherent. I wish I were there so we could talk about it in person (I know what you might be saying about that...). A lot of your feelings and thoughts are pretty close to mine...
Also, by the way, none of your pictures are silly, I love every one of them!
Love, Judy

beakee said...

This is actually my 1st visit to your blog but I liked this post because some bits do resonate here... I'm not vegan, only vegetarian for now, and even then I haven't any friends (apart from my sister who doesn't live with me) who're the same although they all claim to love animals etc. Starting up an animal shelter was once a dream of mine when I fantasised about getting out of the rat race... unfortunately with land at a premium in Singapore, it's not likely to happen. Maybe I'll just go volunteer my services at one in a neighbouring country. I'm normally apathetic towards politics and large corporations unless it concerns environment issues because quite honestly, even if we all "do our part", who can bring about a quick enough and reasonably effective change except for the big guys... but somehow attention gets diverted either towards "national development" or other things that promote consumerism + materialism in the end. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who cares that everyone is working so hard towards a future that is uncertain and not necessarily bright. Oh well... :)