and What This Means for Vegans
In her recent 60 Minutes interview, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made a point that could be very instructive for vegans. In response to her critics looking for any way to discredit her — from distractions as shallow as her former dance moves to her fashion sense — she told Anderson Cooper, “If people want to really blow up one figure here or one word there, I would argue that they’re missing the forest through the trees.” While being factually correct is absolutely important, she argues, when you don’t get something right, you admit it and restate the main point. In the end, whether the data point was 40 million without healthcare or 45 million living without it, the main issue remains unchanged that millions of people will suffer and some will die from not having healthcare. That’s the main point, the life-and-death moral point that really matters.
The same applies with the vegan argument. While we are inundated with “fact checking” from non-vegans trying to discredit us by citing facts and figures we got wrong (according to them, at least) — such as how many hours after birth dairy calves are taken from their mothers — the bigger point is often getting lost in the discussion. Again, the bigger point is the moral one: we already claim to believe as a society that animals should not be made to suffer without a good reason, yet we fail to apply this belief every time we sit down to eat a meal that consists of the bodies and secretions of animals. Quite contrary to this belief, in fact, we mindlessly inflict suffering on animals just for trivial reasons, and obsessively fetishize animal products like bacon, often mocking the victims in the process. Animal exploiters sometimes take this further, boasting that they’ve sold more products of animal suffering in retaliation for criticism. Yet when the abusive boyfriend uses this same depraved logic as a reason for killing his girlfriend’s dog in retaliation against her, we condemn it as a horrible and senseless act of vengeance… simply for the change in species.
While Maxine Waters has become known for “reclaiming my time,” perhaps Ocasio-Cortez will become known for “restating my point,” which is exactly what vegans who are confronted with one distraction after another might need to do. The main vegan point is, why harm someone when you could make another choice? We must make it so that society cannot escape this question, and that means restating the point, until it sticks!