Posted by: conradvisionquest | June 14, 2010

What kind of voice should we be for the voiceless?

This writing was inspired by a thought provoking post I just read on the Epicurvegan’s blog called “Being an effective voice for animals.” The quote below is taken from the comment I left, which has been slightly edited to make more sense here.

I have gone back and forth when deciding what to blog about and what not to blog about. The posts that I thought I would get the most flack for (and were the most honest in terms of my opinions) have turned out to be the most popular. Go figure.

When writing opinion pieces, I take alot more time and am careful with my wording for the very reasons discussed in the Epicurvegan’s post: I don’t want to turn anyone off to veganism. I feel it is our responsibility, as people who choose to live a vegan lifestyle, to be happy and intelligent speakers when discussing animal related issues. We are the voice for the voiceless.

On the other hand, I am asking myself if my own self-censorship might be cowardice. I have strong opinions, too, and the posts that I write that reflect those opinions, to me, seem watered down. I am slowly becoming more comfortable with expressing these opinions. (I am speaking for me personally; it all depends on the blog and the blogger.)  I want to write in a way that is thoughtful and honest.

With all that said, I find that most of my readers are already vegan or vegetarian, or at least open to the idea.  As much as I would like to reach the folks who know nothing about being veg*n or have had limited exposure to the ideas that come with it, I just don’t think that’s the case.  People who come across my blog are either searching for vegan info or are visiting because I commented on their veg*n friendly blog.  So all the concern I have that I will offend non-veg*ns with something I’ve said is probably futile.

I think for me the most effective thing I can do right now is expose those around me who know nothing about veg*ism or are misinformed.  A great way to do this is with wonderful food!  I enjoy cooking for my non veg*n friends, and proving to them that being vegan is not all twigs and berries and spilling fake blood on people.

I also came across another post, entitled “Self Righteous Twerp” on Olyphant’s blog.  In the comment section someone articulated how I was feeling perfectly, even before I knew it was how I felt.  I have been torn between the 2 extremes:  be in-your-face with everyone about what I feel to be right, and not saying anything.  Juan writes:

about in-your-faceness…it seems to me there’s a good chance we, as a civilization, are facing an existential threat in global warming, hence, at first glance, one could equate a cheeseburger with a war crime . It’s definitely going a bit far, particularly because hitting up hardee’s to make a citizens’ arrest of all the diners there would most likely result in a complete failure.  I guess, as is usually the case in the application of any measure of wisdom, you must properly choose whose face you will get all up in…It begins with oneself, I think, unmercifully, brutally and absolutely; given the ongoing process of a self-examined life, one can begin to check on the rest and hope and fight and hope to hope more appropriately.

In this point in time, in this turning point of our civilization, duty has never been more justified, as the shape we give our societies and their behavior will not only determine an assortment of measures of well-being, but (quite possibly) the very plausibility of humanity itself – eating or not eating cow is no longer a trivial matter nor just an issue of personal nutrition. The issue extends well beyond the realm of ethics in the treatment of non-human conscious beings as well: these ethics won’t matter if conscious beings, both ethicists and ethicees, can no longer exist.

So, about in-your-face: we gotta. We just have to choose the faces so as to make the best use of our increasingly imperiled time in this planet.

I do agree with the fact that it’s not just a personal decision about what we eat, but for different reasons.  I’ve said before that these choices involve the lives of other living, breathing beings.  We are deciding whether or not they live or die.  To me, it’s not our decision to make.  All of these issues- animal rights, the environment, the state of our world today – I believe they are all intertwined, related, enmeshed so much that we can’t discuss one without discussing them all.

Other bloggers are tackling this issue as well.  Check out vegan Tim Grier’s opinions by reading his post “Take a Stand.”

In conclusion I think I’ve formulated a more concrete stance on what kind of voice mine will be.  Neither of the extremes (spilling fake blood on people or keeping your mouth shut) are effective.  I do feel a responsibility to provide information and a different perspective to those that I feel will be receptive to it.  We are all responsible for what is happening in the world around us.  And no one else is going to take care of things.  We all must act on that responsibility.

What kind of voice do you want to be, or think we should be?

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”  -Albert Einstein

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”  – Dale Carnegie


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