I have a nervous, sort of excited feeling in my gut today, and I can’t get it out. It kind of almost hurts, actually. It might be partially because today I published my very first piece for my new Huffington Post column. #PRIVATE#My article is entitled “The Day I Got Gay Married: Trading in Skepticism for Matrimony” and it talks about my feelings about DOMA being repealed, and how “in a world with so much suffering and inequality, it is hard to find victories.” I struggle with this. As I wrote in my article, “Even last week’s historic turn of events is bittersweet when we think of how justice remains, in so many ways, elusive.” (I hope you read it, “fan” me, and share the piece, if you feel so inclined! Thank you!)
Obviously, this feeling of frustration (or fury, or helplessness) — and this hesitation to celebrate a tiny victory when there is so much suffering happening right now — is completely applicable to animal issues. And you know as well as I how hard it is to “yell ‘hooray!'” (that’s a reference to my HuffPo piece) when talking about, say, a new law that marginally and pathetically improves the abysmal situation for animals.
I’m not sure I have the specific answer here, and I have absolutely no intention of getting into a pointless and exhausting “rights versus welfare” debate here on OHH — effectively wasting all of our time. But I will reiterate what I’ve said thousands of times before: In order for us to stay in this fight for the long run (and we’ve got to), we absolutely need to keep our eyes open and acknowledge (even celebrate) the good things along the way. The new vegan restaurant, menu, or item. The pro-animal Op-Ed in the New York Times. The emergence of animal studies programs at universities. The neighbor who adopted a dog instead of buying one. The tofu you spotted in your mom’s fridge — and it wasn’t for you. The undercover investigation that made it into mainstream news. We have to notice these things, and pat ourselves on the back. It’s OK to feel good about them.
Of course, we shouldn’t bask for too long in that glory, because we can’t forget that there’s a war going on right now, and we have to continue to fight. The last thing we can become is complacent, or disillusioned. I get that, and I think you do, too. But let’s not become disillusioned in the other direction, either, because in a world that’s so deeply fucked up, there is a lot of good. Let’s notice that. Hell, let’s create that.
Today is the Fourth of July. Independence Day. It doesn’t take a genius to relate that to animals, either. What we want is independence for the animals; we want each of the animals to have what should be their innate freedom. That’s what gets us up in the morning. That’s what we’re thinking about whenever our friends or co-workers accuse of us of zoning out. Maybe that’s part of the reason that my stomach is in a knot today. I want us to win this fight for animals so badly that I can physically feel it. Knowing that each of you are out there right now, experiencing this same thing, fills me with inspiration, hope, clarity, and drive. I hope you feel that, too.
Before I close, there are a few things I wanted to give you the head’s up on. First of all, I’m thrilled to roll out a brand new program which I hope interests the podcast junkies among you: A one-time contribution of $150 or more entitles you to dedicate a podcast episode! The brief (one to three sentence) dedication will be shared during an upcoming episode for all to hear. This is a great opportunity to honor or memorialize your family, friends, or companion animals. It makes a cool, unique gift if you have an OHH podcast lover in your life, or you can treat yourself in celebration of your veganversary. We are really excited to be rolling this out, and we hope that you will consider helping us keep vegan indie media alive by participating. We’re so cluckin’ excited about this!
Oh, one more head’s up: I don’t want to spill the beans on this completely, but in about a week, we’re going to be adding to our $50 level thank you gift. Currently, if you donate $50 to Our Hen House, you receive an ethically-sourced, vegan-made, chic Our Hen House tote bag. For a limited time, we will be adding to that gift a brand new book that is coming out next week. I will not say what book. But I will give you these hints: 1. JL Fields. 2. Ginny Messina. 3. Veganism. 4. #thingsthatpertaintowomen (!!!). Stay tuned for more on that. I honestly think — bias aside — that the thank you gifts that OHH offers are the best ones out there. And, of course, we’re reliant on readers and listeners to keep OHH movin’ and groovin’, so let’s just call this a win-win.
Hey, did you see that the vegan card-makers and designers over at Two Trick Pony have created a Table of Veganism, which is based off of the Periodic Table of Elements? I think it’s amazing. And they are generously donating five percent of the sales of this to Our Hen House.
Finally, thank you to those of you who commented and sent messages about our decision to move. We’re going to be talking about it a bit more on tomorrow’s podcast (Episode 182 — featuring Laura Beck, Kristin Lajeunesse, and Gena Hamshaw). But let me just say this: The (vegan) real estate agent we’ve been working with has been working her ass off for us, and we seem to have narrowed down our neighborhood. We will likely be moving to Morningside Heights, which is just north of Columbia University, where Mariann teaches. I can’t explain how elated (and freaked out) we are about this. Now we just have to sell our apartment (a neighbor already expressed interest).
We plan on doing gut renovation to wherever we move (assuming the price of the place is right, of course). It’s kind of thrilling, don’t you think? The opportunity to break something down and build it back up, exactly how you’d like to see it? Seems like a perfect metaphor to close with today. Happy Independence Day.
Flock Only: Breaking Things Down, Building Them Back Up, and Celebrating Independence