Monday, June 30, 2008

Little Blue Spruce

Classic question: If a tree falls in a forest with no one around, does it make a sound? My variation: If a tree falls in a forest with no one around, does anyone care? After all…the entire freaking forest is filled with trees.

I have always had a degree of respect for people that live for a cause. Even a ridiculous cause. I can’t sympathize or empathize with a vegan, because I just don’t see how my choice to not eat meat helps save the lives of chickens and cows. Not that I haven’t tried. Last week I passed by the meat section at Harmon’s and decided not to buy the t-bone. Believe it or not, the dead hunk of meat did NOT jump out of its cellophane coffin to shake my hand and praise my humanity for saving a life. That cow is dead. If I don’t buy the t-bone, the lady behind me will. My choice to consume eggs is not killing or hurting chickens. Choosing a canvas belt over leather does not save bovine lives. I refuse to believe that my singular choice can have any effect on a multi TRILLION-dollar agricultural and farming industry.

I’ve heard the story of the couple walking down the beach watching the girl throwing beached starfish back into the ocean. They ask “what are you doing little girl?” “I’m saving the starfish.” “But you’re just one little girl, your actions here cannot possibly matter to all these starfish?” “Well, it matters to this one,” as she tosses it back into the ocean. Great story. Great sentiment. But what if the starfish were already dead and hardened? Would it matter? Look, if the pork chops at Wal-Mart were crying and beating on their packaging to get out, you’d bet your butt I would yank off that plastic and let the pork chops go. But the pork chops’ fate has been decided. Throwing them back into the wild is just going to attract flies and vultures.

I do understand that living a vegan lifestyle for the purpose of not contributing to animal cruelty can give a certain level of personal satisfaction to some people. In which case I applaud and respect you for your decision. But I won’t subscribe to the actual effectiveness of your actions to the problem as a whole.

I bring this up now because I feel a similar level of despair as a voter in Utah. Right now I’m torn. I am as moderate as you can get…I lean to the left on most issues, but far to the right on others. But I am that singular tree in a vast forest of other trees. My falling will not matter. It will not affect the future or direction of the forest. This is a forest of republican redwoods. Network television suggests a volatile time of political theory crafting. But does it matter? If I chose to break out of my typically conservative shell and vote Obama, would it really make a difference? This is a red state. Period. It always will be. I don’t necessarily attribute that to a church/state issue. I believe church and state are separate here, but I also believe that the moral fiber of our Utah society, influenced by the LDS teachings, influences our voting decisions. Which means republican. End of discussion.

I have some facebook friends that are hardcore Obama people. I applaud you for your zeal and your dedication to a cause. I even envy your tenacity. But your vote is a tiny blue spruce falling silently in a forest of mighty redwoods. It will not be heard, and nobody cares.


Sister said...

I say forget about saving the animals. Instead lets save the vegetables. Think of all the innocent Carrots that I can save. As for voting...I don't care to vote. I am so tired of the candidates by the time election finally rolls around that I would take a stuttering four-year-old as president just not to have to hear about polls or politics for four more years. Aargh...All this talk of politics makes me hungry...Where's the steak?!

Mandy said...

I have to agree with you. WOULD it matter if we voted Obama? (not that I would in a million years, but Hey---). Look at Mattheson. No one thought he would ever get elected because he was Democrat... or Mayor Rocky....
You're right about LDS and republicans though. My father-in-law once said that (Jason's mom's mom) Grandma Putnam would vote AGAINST Jesus if he ran as a Democrat.