Facebook can be a very dark place. Like an unexplored abyss or an unknown jungle. There’s no way on earth you can predict what you’ll get; one morning you’re waking up to cute puppy videos, the other, you’re eclipsed by negativity and shock. You get all kinds of people; ideologues, demagogues, trolls, extremists, provocateurs and… Crossfit enthusiasts- by far the worst.
It’s something that’s very hard to avoid. Alas! There’s a solution! Facebook groups. Yes, you heard me right; you can now join niche groups and engage in dialogue specifically catered to your interests. So, now us vegans no longer have to deal with ridiculous posts by meat eaters bagging our choices and constantly engaging in socio-political warfare with unknown losers. The day I discovered Facebook groups, I was super excited. FINALLY an array of platforms where I can engage in civil dialogue and share ideas with like-minded, compassionate people. Now we can uplift, support and empower each other through sharing and lending information. We are now UNITED. A united community is a strong community and a strong community is unbreakable. Anyway, within a few weeks, I immediately realized that I could not have been more wrong.
My dreams were shattered when I realized that veganism is not a united community. Far from it. In fact, vegans are worlds apart from each other. And just like every other community, you have idiots, extremists and, well... schmucks. There are also great people and they indeed are the majority, but sadly- empty barrels make the most noise. This vegan civil war is recurring and, frankly, counterproductive. My best friend and I both have a policy that we do not argue with vegans. It really is silly to do so but also hard not to at times.
The other day I was scrolling through my feed and an admin on one of the biggest vegan groups posted something along the lines of “if you’re a Trump supporter, then please leave our group”. Now, I’m apolitical and, even though I do have my opinions, I prefer to keep them to myself and not voice them publicly. Naturally, people commented. It became an open battlefield; those who openly hate the President of the USA vs those who either don’t mind him or don’t think it has anything to do with veganism. Many who disagreed with the original post got banned from the group. Many left. From my perspective, as a bystander, it was very depressing to witness.
THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE BECOMING VEGRS FOR A REASON!
This isn’t the first incident. On another occasion, a video was posted in which half a dozen vegans walked into a fast food restaurant and aggressively disrupted customers. Some vegans condoned their behavior, others condemned it. Some of the things that were said in the comments section were horrendous; vegans labeling other vegans in the most disappointing of ways.
Why are we fighting? Aren’t we here for the same reasons? Aren’t we all good people? As vegans, we shouldn’t be bringing each other down. It weakens us as a community. I get that we’re all different and have varying opinions but when we spend valuable time arguing with each other and insulting one another (we could be fighting with carnists instead), we weaken our community. Veganism isn’t a political ideology or a religion. It doesn’t matter if you voted for Hilary or Trump or if you’re Muslim or Jewish. We are vegan for one sole purpose- the animals. Let’s clear this once and for all.
Militant Vegans: Stop looking down on health vegans and claiming they are not real vegans. Stop telling them that they are not helping the cause. They are.
Health Vegans: Stop judging activists for being picky. If a fraction of something has been tested on animals, don’t mock them. They have every right to feel unsettled.
Political Junkies/Crybabies: Keep your political views to yourself. Nobody cares. Veganism is not affiliated with any particular political party.
Spiritual Vegans: Stay cool. We love you.
Instead, let’s see the good in each other. We are vegan, after all. It doesn’t matter why we’re vegan- we’re all contributing and have our own ways of doing things. If we disagree with each other, let’s be civil about it.
This is where I need you. I really do need your help. I need you to comment below and share how you think the vegan community can better understand each other. Let me know and I will include it in next week's follow up.
~ Dan Murphy
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