When is it appropriate to push your agenda?
I was recently at a social event with a girlfriend who is raising her children vegetarian. Someone asked her how she handles it when her kids go to events or stay with a friend who is not vegetarian, and as I listened to her talk about how she explains to her kids that not everyone is like them, it made the strangest image pop into my head.
I found myself wondering, “Did abolitionist families (about 160 years ago) have to do the same thing?” I had this vision of them sitting their children down and explaining, “Our family chooses not to have slaves, but the Jones’ have decided to keep their slaves. You need to respect that and not question their decision.” Can you imagine?
In 2016, such a scene seems insane, but in 1860, I would bet conversations like that actually occurred. I see animal slavery so clearly that I find it perplexing when others don’t, but I respect their decisions and don’t push my agenda. However, it made me wonder if I should stay silent.
I once had lunch with a lady in New York City who was a long time animal activist and vegan who was certainly more militant than I am. She told me a story about having dinner with a friend that is a meat eater and worked for a charity that fought to end violence against children. As they were ordering, her friend asked if it was OK that she ordered meat. Her response was, “Not if you don’t mind that I kick the next child that walks by the table.”
I don’t think I would have had the guts to say that, but what a witty response! And it makes such a good point. I wonder if the lesson stuck with her friend as much as it stuck with me?
I have always felt there are various ways one can approach activism, and my chosen strategy has always been one of blending in more and leading by example. However, I can see the benefit of being more vocal and putting people on the spot. I hope you find the approach that is right for you.