I wanted to say something about the election, but since the weather has been so great I’ve been trying to stay away from the computer and spend lots of time outside. There are many issues or events I have opinions on, but I think what I dwelled most upon and what I most want to say is this: that upon returning from the polling station I felt tarnished, that I have compromised my integrity. No matter what I do with my ballot I or what the results are I feel this way. Should I be legitimizing a system that requires me to forfeit the making of the decisions that effect my life and are important to me to another person? So that for four years some person I have not met, who doesn’t share my views can do whatever they want in my name. Is the modest reform that could potentially be the result of my vote make it worth granting weight and legitimacy to the undesirable outcome of the vote, as they are all undesirable, just some more than others. Sure we can appeal to them during their terms, but doing so seems the equivalent of begging for change. Our current mode of government is not fair, just, or moral. I believe it to be the right of all people to directly make the decisions that affect their lives both in the political and economic spheres, and not through some unwieldy institution of representation that has the effect of shaping the public view to reflect itself, distorting our voices, and turning people against one another. Many say we can do no better, this is the best we can have. But there are choices and people have made them before, from Catalonia to Chiapas. The exact details of what society could become cannot be described now, as they will arise only through the cooperative process itself. The ends is the means, and the means the end. We can certainly do better than being mere partisans, capitalists, consumers, or other cogs in the machine. We haven’t reached the end of history.
So in brief, that is how I felt about the election. I hope it makes good food for thought.
I have been wanting to post about things that are not related to food while my life isn’t that interesting something that happened to me today made me think. While this is still somewhat food related at least it is not about something I made. Today I had to take my cat to the veterinarian, the visit itself was not what got me thinking (he has a minor infection, he’ll be fine) but rather getting him there. He was fairly easy to handle but the entire time we were in the car and at the vet’s he was breathing very hard and making noises that he never makes. It was obvious that he was terrified. What this got me thinking about was the transportation of livestock. Much is made of more humane livestock rearing, grass-fed beef, painless slaughter etc. But regardless of how the animal lived it’s life, at one point it will be herded onto a packed transport, driven hundreds of kilometres in all kinds conditions, herded into a slaughter house and killed. Even if they suffer no injury as a direct result of transport there is no way the entire process is not terrifying for them. Though maybe not as extreme as the suffering endured by food animals in other aspects of their lives this is still a very real form of suffering that billions of animals are subjected to. Whether the animal was free-range, organic, or whatever, it was brought into existence solely so it can be brought to this fate, and solely to satisfy our palates. Some may say that there are greater injustices in the world than this, and even for most food animals this is not the worst they endure. But it is still significant because it is a real form of suffering that is the result of a choice we make. While we may not be able to alleviate all the world’s suffering, we can at least not add to it. And by eating meat we unnecessarily add to this suffering that is inherent to meat. In urging his followers to practice compassion for all forms of life the Buddha said “All tremble at the rod. All fear death. Comparing others with oneself, one should neither kill nor cause to kill. All tremble at the rod. Life is dear to all.” When no one would want to tremble in fear why would it be right to subject other beings to that fate, particularly for sensual satisfaction.
“No man has the power or the right to destroy the life of another as life is precious to all.”