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"Great Americans eat red meat."

So says a Michigan legislator in response to Governor Granholm's Michigan Meat-Out Day proposed for March 20th. The idea was to promote vegetarianism as a good alternative to the usual American diet. The PR for the campaign was clumsy, written by either journalists or political hacks--who wouldn't know a good metaphor even if one foamed at the mouth, bit and transmitted rabies to them. It's "fun" to be vegetarian, the boilerplate read. Fun with Jennifer Granholm is like sitting on the beach at Sleeper State Park during the third week of January. Better yet, fun with these pols is like watching TV in an RV all week at Wilderness State Park during a run of fantastic weather in July.
Anyway, this titanic stink arose from this proclamation. How dare anyone suggest (notice it's not a law) that we take a one-day break from eating meat. Got apoplexia? According to MUCC (Michigan's hunting rights group) this whole idea was spawned by two animal rights groups who tend to the extreme. Fair enough. We don't need some sneaky propaganda from people who probably think abortion for humans is a good, but eating meat is up there with the Holocaust.
What I see at the heart of this brouhaha, is the idea of temperance. Is it un-American to suggest that we give something up for one day? "Hell yes!" The so-called Conservatives roil and yell. As Americans we deserve every resource we use, every cheap Chinese good we buy, every degrading (and inane) entertainment we consume. We are Americans! You can't suggest that we give something up.
It is especially humourous (and sad) that this reaction occurs during Lent; so many Americans claim allegiance to Christ, but couldn't be bothered to actually follow what he said. No, Jesus did not tell us to stop eating meat; he did, however, tell us to take up our cross and deny ourselves. Does this mean a life of abstaining from pleasures?--some Christians would offer a qualified yes--don't indulge if it doesn't have Jesus prostituted all over it; if it does, why then partake until you vomit, brother. On the contrary, at the very least, he's saying you don't always need what you want.
Granholm wasn't making vegetarianism a law; we should resist that if anyone tried it. But honestly, will the livestock industry collapse if a good portion of people from the Great Lake State refrain from a burger, ribs, or chicken nuggets for one single day? If that's true, then they really do need the gummint's teat.
While the animal rights groups can't tell the difference between the hellish monstrosity that is factory farming and stewardly husbandry, the whiners about Michigan Meat-Out can't understand the difference between a slavish indulgence (an addiction, perhaps?) and the freedom that comes from an occasional virtuous restraint.
Another great American once wrote:
"One farmer says to me, 'You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with;' and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plough along in spite of every obstacle."

Comments

Rachel said…
It's odd what some people are threatened by, and what they expend their energy on.

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