A Little Clarity

As I debated over which of the myriad topics on my list I should write about first, I realized that this blog was already blossoming into a life of its own, one that I know I will be powerless to shape, much less stop.  So readers (if you’re out there!) beware, you’re in for a long and meandering ride.

I also realized that although this blog is going to pull me in whatever direction it chooses, I need to bring a little clarity to this wordy adventure, for both my sake and yours.  Let’s start with some adjectives.  They’re fun and descriptive.  Environmentally-friendly? Definitely.  Health conscious?  Oh yes!  Animist?  Yes.  Feminist?  Power to the sisters.  Spiritual?  At times.  Liberal?  Aha, there’s the key word.  Yes, this is a liberal blog, and I would like to think it’s an radical blog as well, but a blog by itself can’t be radical.  Words cannot change governments, they can’t fix corrupt industries, they can’t save a dying planet.  Only people can do that.  Words spread ideas; actions spread change.  And that’s the difference between liberal and radical.

In her book The Vegetarian Myth, Lierre Keith address the dichotomy between liberalism and radicalism.  Liberals are idealists and individualists, believing that all power stems from concepts, attitudes, and personal belief.  Change some minds, change the world.  That strategy would make life on this earth so much better, wouldn’t it?  But we all know it doesn’t work like that.  That’s when the radicals come barreling in.  Instead of focusing on individuals and ideas, radicals look at society in groups – economic, gender-based, racial, etc – who must challenge the group in power that is responsible for whatever injustices they aim to correct.  Liberal ideals or radical actions: make your choice.

So yes, I am liberal.  I am a vegetarian.  I eat local and organic as much as possible.  I put as few medicinal drugs in my body as possible.  I recycle.  I don’t drive.  My religion is the circle of life, cliche though it might sound.  I keep myself updated on environmental, political, and health issues, and I try to spread whatever small kernels of wisdom I happen upon, hence this blog.  But though I’d like to claim that I’m a radical fighting for the health of my species and my planet, I’m can’t claim that shining title.  I do my part, but as Keith says, “Neither of these approaches – personal psychological change or personal lifestyle choices – is going to disrupt the global arrangements of power…  This is easier, much easier, because it makes no demands on us.  It requires no courage or sacrifice, no persistence or honor, which is what direct confrontations with power must require…  Rose Parks on her own ended up in jail.  Rosa Parks plus the courage, sacrifice, and political will of the whole Black community of Montgomery, Alabama ended segregation on the public transportation system.”

I’m a Rosa Parks, and I’m sure many of you are too.  But alone with our thoughts, we can only spread ideas.  Maybe one day soon we’ll all have the courage and honor to challenge the forces destroying our bodies, our society, our planet.  Until then, I’m just trying to bring a little clarity to the world.


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