Friday, June 13, 2008

Clearing Out The Clutter

In my growth as a human being, ie becoming more vegan with every passing day, I've faced conundrums like what to do with all the clothing, shoes, handbags, luggage, jewelry, cars, and other sundry items that have come to represent oppression, slavery, and worse for all sentient beings.

One of my Vegan Freak contemporaries signature says it all for me: I didn't stop eating meat because I didn't like the taste, I gave up meat because I couldn't stand the taste of suffering. This concept runs through my head every time I consider such small acts as drinking a cup of coffee. For me, a trip to Starbucks became symbolic of the oppression of the humans harvesting the beans, to their families who likely were malnourished, denied basic rights, and then presented to the world as being "the reason for starvation" because they are "not practicing birth control." To add insult to injury, my Starbux slave trade coffee would be topped off with cream. Cream stolen from a cow, who like millions of her sister cows, had been artificially inseminated only to have her baby ripped from her teat soon after birth. Baby was destined for a veal crate or a repetition of Mom's "life" of slavery, foreshortened by hormones designed to increase the speed with which her body was stripped of calcium so that *I* could "enjoy" the products of her lactation. All this "enjoyment" of a cup of coffee while wearing a diamond tennis bracelet mined by slaves, wearing shoes constructed of the skin of slaves, swathed in "beauty products" tested on slaves, with my perfectly manicured fingertips (the errant bit of polish cleared away with nail polish remover tested in the eyes of rabbits.... yup, nail polish remover still burns bunnies eyes after all these years!) *I* could stand there chatting up the new styles of Coach bags with my silk scarf tied oh so cleverly around my neck feeling ever so smug about finding an amazing bargain on a pair of gently worn Manolo Blahniks and not even think about the women and children who'd labored through 85 hour work weeks in a sweat shop to produce my Victoria's Secret lacy thong and matching bra beneath my Levi's from Cambodia, and my baby tee sporting a show dog portrait. And then I woke up.

So now - what to do with all those shoes, bags, clothes, etc.? Should I set up shop on eBay? Go the consignment route? Profit more? Create more market for these symbols that are now meaningless to me? I cannot, in good conscience. In a very feeble attempt at restitution, I've been donating them to charity. Let those who need it most get the last remaining vestiges of value from those things I should never have found any value in possessing. They were never really mine to take.

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