losing the anger
February 9, 2008
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I was an angry vegan for a while. Mostly I am over that now, and I feel so much better. I feel more effective as well, and since that’s the goal, I’m happy that it intersects with a healthier mindset.
Logically it all makes sense – when I’m not angry, I’m more approachable. I don’t sound like the crazy person ranting, I sound like a reasonable person who might just have a point. When I’m not hating the entire world, I’m interacting with people more, which means I have more opportunities to talk to people and that means I also have the opportunity to open someone’s mind.
I still get angry sometimes, but I let it go as soon as I can. Today I was in the car with a friend, on our way to the vegan bakery here in town. We saw some police on their police horses. I was cringing inside, not realizing the anger was growing until my friend said something about how she heard they are treated so well.
I let off some steam. I pointed out that these horses were not given a choice but were forced to spend their days in a very dangerous environment, one that would be terrifying to them, and in addition they had to carry hundreds of pounds on their backs and have uncomfortable pieces of metal in their mouths. That’s treating them well, I asked? She said in a quiet voice that they had horses when she was growing up.
I didn’t really say anything to that, because what could I say at that point? I already made my views on it clear. But it did remind me to let go of the anger, no matter that it comes from my passion for justice and that my friend does understand my commitment. I took a deep breath and I explained that we tend to convince ourselves that we provide a great benefit for others, ignoring the fact that we give them no choice, we put them in situations where their lives and health are at risk, and then we pat ourselves on the back for how well we treat them. When what we really mean is we give them food and shelter and we don’t whip them bloody. They have, we decide, a pretty decent life, right up until we decide they’re no longer wanted or useful, at which point we sell them. And that selling them might be the same thing as killing them.
There was a silence. And then she said, “it sounds a bit like enslavement.”