The big story in the community is that former president Bill Clinton has gone vegan. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but President Clinton has not gone vegan, he is eating a plant-based diet.
Veganism is an ethical philosophy that incorporates the abolition of nonhuman animals from food, clothing, pets, entertainment and animal experimentation. I suppose I’m happy that he has chosen to eat a plant-based diet, at least for the short-term benefit to nonhuman animals, but the problem with getting excited about celebrities going “vegan” is that most do it for their own benefit, not the benefit of others.
Inevitably, they decide that they’ve reached their intended goal, lowered their cholesterol, lost weight, or whatever selfish goal moved them to eat a plant-based diet in the first place. Then they start eating animals again, often very publicly. Whatever positive gain was made by them eating a plant-based diet is completely erased once they stop. In fact, the negative is much greater. It reinforces to the public that being vegan is unrealistic, a hardship, tastes terrible; that we all secretly want to eat dead animals and their secretions again, and all the other negative perceptions out there. Often, more attention is given to the fact that they are no longer vegan than when they were.
So, good on Clinton for not eating animals and their secretions, for now. I’m sure he’s a fine guy, if you put aside DOMA, DADT, starving 500,000 Iraqi children with sanctions, NAFTA, shipping jobs overseas, AEDPA (Anti-terrorism and Effective Death penalty Act), but I digress. Maybe he’ll have a realization and realize that being vegan is not about his health desires and needs, but about animals. Don’t get me wrong, nothing makes me happier than seeing Vegan on food products, cleansers, in the media, book titles and the like, but furthering the confusion that being vegan is a diet and not an ethical philosophy is frustrating.
So, I won’t be posting about how awesome it is that he’s now vegan, unless I see him show up at a protest, handing out vegan literature, tossing his leather wingtips, silk tie and wool suits.