Friday, May 24, 2013

Can we disagree with courtesy?

Prairie dogs.

Recently one of our local TV stations wrote a Facebook post about 500 prairie dogs being in danger of a new transportation project. The station asked for people's opinions on whether or not people cared about the plight of the prairie dogs that would be affected.

Holy cow.

Maybe I have not been paying attention, but when did it become OK to write such disgusting things about people you happen to disagree with?

I honestly couldn't believe some of the responses. As I read them, I realized that any conversation around prairie dogs had long been dismissed.

I wonder how often this happens. I wonder how this became acceptable.

Because it's not. It's certainly not how I ever want to be, and how I hope people who try to be a voice for the voiceless are not either. There is no good that comes out of disrespect towards other people simply because they have an opinion that is different than mine, or our.

So how can we change? Or can we? I definitely believe that we can change this. I believe that if we kindly call folks on their responses and always be a beacon of courteous comments, even when we disagree.

Please understand that I am not saying that we become passive with our beliefs and around what we fight for. I'm simply saying that we can disagree with people and honor our cause or whoever we are fighting for. Being mean in a public forum does no good for the voiceless we are trying to be the voice for.

This is something I continually work on. Simply put, discourse can by polite. Who knows, people's minds have changed over much less than being greeted with kindness.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Nice, Dan. My hackles go up sometimes (often) and it's tempting to go to full devastation mode. A huge part of living Vegan is practicing compassion in a ways that we internalize it and allow it to soften our interactions with others.

    And what a great question: "When did it become okay?" I blame the Tea Party. Kidding.....well, sort of.

    Actually, I credit the anonymity of the internet, where we can lob insults and not be held accountable for them in person. It allows us to put aside the sense of propriety that Mama taught us and speak shamelessly. It brings out my worst.

    Thanks for the post............Chad (Dear Vegan)

  2. Chad! Thanks so much. I totally agree! We need to change it!

  3. For me, veganism is about compassion and peacefulness, so I personally aim to avoid insults.

    That said, animal abusers do shameful things and are both aggressive and sometimes abusive and violent in justification.
    As vegans we oppose the basic tenet that animals must die so that we can live. To say this is, in itself, transgressive and inviting hostility.

    So a determined discussion of the truth is needed sometimes, and may go beyond the edge of politeness. We can always be kind.

  4. I hear ya. I'll be the first to admit that I have a quick temper, and am more likely to be caustic or sarcastic online than off. Makes me think that I'm better off doing more advocacy in person so that people can see the sweet vegan that I really am!

    Great post. Thanks for writing it.