Thursday, October 2, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 2: Debates, Drinking

Now here's an interesting correlation: during my first year as a vegan, I've become about 300% more interested in politics. I'm not sure if there's a causal relationship here, but it seems possible. Almost all vegans I know (on the internet or off of it) are politically engaged if not downright politically active. Perhaps they're rubbing off on me.

Or it could be that moving to the liberal cesspool that is Santa Cruz (the perfect nest for me to lay/hatch my hardcore liberal vegan eggs!) has just made it harder for me to ignore politics. Maybe, just maybe, it's that I'm finally transitioning into full on adulthood and coming to realize that all of this actually matters in my life-- that the administration that you* and I vote into the White House will directly affect whether or not I'll ever be able to buy a house... whether or not I can get the reproductive care that is appropriate for me... whether or not my little brother will ever be afforded the rights of marriage and have them protected by the government, etcetera. Hell, maybe it's just that I'm finally angry enough, that I've finally reached the critical point where I can no longer calmly ignore politics and bank on other people arguing it out for me.

But look, for the sake of this post and vegan MoFo, let's say it's the veganism.

What the hell does food have to do with politics? Why on earth would someone's EATING HABITS affect her political views and actions? Well, there are the obvious things. For instance, many vegans here in California have been working hard to get people to vote for Proposition 2. For those outside the state or those who just don't know: Prop 2 mandates humane treatment for farm animals, including those raised on** factory farms. You can read one opinion on it here. My guess is that the majority of people with non-veg lifestyles either a) don't know much about Prop 2 or b) don't have strong feelings on it one way or another. I don't know if I would have known about it a year ago, despite my 14ish years of vegetarianism. When I crossed over into veganism, though, I suddenly knew a huge contingent of people who knew and cared about Prop 2, and helped me understand why I should care about it too. A lot of us are vegan because we're not into animal exploitation, and while ensuring that animals aren't treated like shit before they're cacked and eaten is a far cry from, y'know, the disappearance of the meat industry, it's certainly a step in the right direction. It makes sense that we're all abuzz about things like Prop 2.

But the caring doesn't stop there, generally. Maybe it's that animal rights is like, a gateway issue. Once you gain the confidence to start engaging people in dialogue about AR, maybe some of that confidence carries over and helps you talk about other issues, too. For me, I guess it's kind of like I already know that some sizable fraction of the population already thinks I'm freaking insane because of my dietary choices the reasons behind them... may as well go out on a ledge and openly support things like gay marriage, free healthcare for poor kids, funding research on alternative energy, etc.

I don't know. I'm sort of thinking out loud here. All I'm trying to say is that I feel like being vegan has helped ease me into politics proper. My increased political awareness means, among other things, that I am following the presidential campaign coverage like it's my business. I'm not quite to the point of having Google email me every time a new Palin/Obama/Biden/etc story pops up, but... it's close.

So of COURSE I'm watching the debate tonight! Yes, all of that above was just meant to lead into debate talk. Unlike many of my vegan compatriots, I am not having a debate party. However, my dude and I WILL be playing the Biden/Palin drinking game. He'll be drinking the very delicious and very vegan Fat Tire ale, while I will be rocking vodka tonics made with Hangar One kaffir lime infused vodka. (Lordy, do I wish I had some arugula to eat! Maybe I'll get some before the next presidential debate. By the way, if you're hosting a McCain/Palin party, the ONLY appropriate foods to serve are moose and moose related things. I would say that moose tracks ice cream is valid.)

Whether or not we vegans know how to eat is a topic for another day: however, it's clear that we know how to drink!

Along with the booze, we'll be eating fancy pants tortilla chips (have to find the name of this brand... they're lightly seasoned with something and extremely freaking good) and nacho cheezy sauce. Maybe chili cheezy sauce, if I'm not too lazy to open a can of vegan chili as well.

We're still formulating the drinking game rules, by the way. So far, I've got this.

Drink if someone uses one of these phrases:
"gotcha" journalism
first dude
Main Street vs Wall Street
thanks but no thanks
middle class America

Drink if one of these things happens:
someone refers to the VP as being "a heartbeat away from the presidency"
Palin references her gay friend
Biden refers to McCain as his friend
Palin is unable to name an example of something most Americans could easily name dozens of (say, magazines she's ever read)
Biden makes a joke in poor taste
Palin contradicts herself...
... in the same sentence (drink twice)
... ... multiple times in the same sentence (drink thrice)

Very much a work in progress, still, and we're open to suggestions!

*Unless you're a furriner, of course. Or a felon.
**Is it on or in? You're raised on a farm, but things are made in a factory.

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