Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I’m tired of thinking...

'Vegetarians' photo (c) 2009, Thomas R. Stegelmann - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
I decided to give up meat for lent this year. So for 40+ days—carnivore that I am—I ate no meat. Meat is so engrained in our culture—and that was my biggest reason for doing it, I wanted to see if I could break out of the cultural norm of the meat culture.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as a thought it would be, especially after the first few days when I found myself drooling over a half-eaten hot dog at a basketball game. Thankfully, vegetarian hot dogs taste very much like the “real thing” (that’s an oxymoron if there ever was one!).

I stumbled through my time. I found a couple easy recipes that I liked (vegetarian chili is awesome), I substituted garbanzo beans for meat in spaghetti and hamburger helper, and relied on my lunchtime staple of peanut butter sandwiches, ate beans and rice a few times, and hit up Taco Bell when I needed a quick, easy meal.  Yesterday, for Easter, I ended my Lenten fast with a bang, eating Ham for all three meals (not intentionally). Today I didn’t eat any meat, but I’m not sure if I want to keep being vegetarian. For one, the McDonald’s 20 pieces nuggets are calling my name, and I still enjoy a good burger. But, secondly, and most importantly, I’m tired of thinking about it.

I’m tired of trying figure out which restaurant I could possibly eat something at.

I’m tired of getting odd stares when I ask the waiter what the vegetarian options on the menu are.

I’m tired of trying to figure out what to possibly eat while on a road trip.

I’m tired of trying to avoid eating meat.

Basically, I’m tired of thinking about it. I’m tired of thinking about how farming and livestock has become industrialized to the point where beef gets rinsed in bleach and chickens are genetically altered to grow big breasts.  I’m tired of thinking about all the antibiotics I’m taking in when I eat beef because the cows are juiced up on the stuff to keep them healthy.  I’m tired of thinking about the gout my father has and I very well might get if I keep eating red meat all the freakin’ time.

I bet we all know a thing or two about being tired of thinking about things. Those in power don’t want us to think. Advertisers don’t want us to think. Marketers don’t want us to think. The rich and powerful don’t want to think. Why? Because they realize if we think, we might actually start protesting the way things are.

I get it. We’re all busy. We’re all spread thin. We’re all just trying to make it through the day.

But we’ve got to try to start paying more attention, questioning the way things are, asking more questions. I know most of us are don’t have the time, resources, and energy to change the world. But, if we all just thought about things a little more, it could be the start of something big. We’ve got to start thinking about things—and that often requires asking questions.

Why do we live in the richest nation on earth yet still consistently have people living in poverty?

Why do business leaders talk about the logical free market but then sell to our emotions?

Why do we need to keep sending drones to kill “enemy combatants”?

Why is healthcare a privilege and not a right?

Why can’t we end hunger worldwide?

I’m going to try to keep thinking, to keep eating Burger King veggie burgers (even though their fries suck) instead of Wendy’s, to try to keep asking for the vegetarian options on the menu, and I’m going to try to keep thinking. That’s what I ask from you.

Stop listening to FoxNews.

Turn off MSNBC.

Stop and think for your-self.

If you and me, and a few others could start doing that, I bet we could change some things…

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