To My Fellow Mississippians & Beleaguered Christians Everywhere

Mississippi state capitolMy Fellow Mississippians:

When I was younger — much younger — I spent a lot of time at the state capitol in Jackson. I was the kind of kid who loved debate tournaments, who adored sparring with words since I was too small and doughy to spar with my fists. Not surprisingly, I loved the annual Youth Congress event, when teenagers like me took over the capitol building and made it ours for a few days, a place where we could pass fake laws, swivel ourselves sick in fancy leather chairs, and generally annoy the crap out of each other so long as we followed Robert’s Rules of Order.

But even then, even in my most precocious years, I knew deep down that I was no match for the Good Ol’ Boy network. Because even among the social outcasts of the debating and forensics circuit, I was an outsider. I just couldn’t walk the walk — not without swishing, anyway. I made people uncomfortable. I made them suspicious.

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Today’s Deep Thought

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, fucktardThese Catholic priests talking about the importance of “traditional” marriage? Do any of them realize that they’re involved in the biggest, same-sex plural marriage on the planet?

I’m A Casual Vegan (And So Can You!) Part Two: Toiletries, Cosmetics, And Fragrance

Marilyn_Monroe_shaving

So, you’ve begun to veganize your wardrobe, quietly weeding out the leather and the wool and the alligator and all the other animal-derived stuff hanging from hangers and boxed in shoeboxes. That was pretty painless, and no one really noticed the transformation, so no one has tried raking you over the coals for your new-found code of ethics. (I still don’t know why people do that, but they do. It’s annoying.)

Phase 1: The Bedroom is complete, now you’re ready for Phase 2: The Bathroom.

Chances are, several products sitting in your shower and by your sink contain animal-based ingredients and/or were animal-tested in labs. If you’re only following the letter of vegan law (whatever that is), you’ll just need to ditch the former, but the spirit of that law is all about minimizing cruelty, so it seems like a good idea to toss the latter, too.

A quick heads-up before we begin: this round of changeouts may be more difficult than the first, but don’t worry, it’s totally doable. And as with the clothing switcheroo, you’ll probably be the only one to notice.

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I’m A Casual Vegan (And So Can You!) Part One: Clothing & Accessories

Keep Calm and Go VeganI am a patient man. My husband would say that I am too patient. It’s something I picked up from my mother, who preached the “This is Water” philosophy long before David Foster Wallace gave his now-famous speech.

I am also a pragmatist. This goes hand-in-hand with being patient.  I don’t need a perfect life, I don’t need laws, technology, jobs, clients, partners, or pets to be exactly as I want them, when I want them. I am willing to accept incremental progress and evolution rather than lickety-split revolution — in fact, I think slow-and-steady-wins-the-race is a healthier approach. In short: I am willing to live with the ambiguities and messiness of the world. My boyfriend can vouch for that.

So it’s no surprise that my version of veganism is fairly casual, laid-back. Don’t get me wrong: when I was younger and merely a vegetarian, I was very confrontational. I went through That Phase. I was a complete and utter dick to carnivores. I can smile about it now, but at the time, it was terrible.

When I returned to the meat-free fold a few years ago, determined to go full-on vegan, I decided to approach it in a different way. So far, I think it’s worked: I feel better about myself, I think I’m inflicting less harm on the animals of the world, I didn’t have to change my life too dramatically to make the switch, and just as importantly, I don’t believe I’ve alienated any friends or family members in the process. (Though like many non-meat-eaters, I still have a dad who says things like, “I know you’re a vegetarian, but you still eat chicken, right?”)

Along the way, I’ve persuaded a few folks to join me. Most worried that being vegan would be too much of a “lifestyle” and upend their daily routines, but soon they realized that’s not the case — not at all. Here are some of the tips I offered them, starting with the ones that are easiest to implement.

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Quick Notes On Texas & Marriage Equality

Ted Cruz“[U]nelected judges should not be substituting their own policy views for the reasoned judgments of the citizens of Texas” — Senator Ted Cruz, complaining about a federal judge who found Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage to be in conflict with the U.S. Constitution

And that, in a nutshell, is the only remaining defense that Texans — or anyone else in America — has for supporting statewide bans on same-sex marriage.

The procreation argument has failed at every level.

The biblical argument? Even more disastrous. Put aside for a moment the question of church/state separation and just look at the wackadoo marriage laws found in the bible. Any of the Old Testamenteers would be completely confused by our one man-one woman system. “What no concubines? No slaves? No incest? What’s wrong with you people?” (N.B. They might’ve said “What the hell is wrong with you people?”, only hell hadn’t been invented yet.)

The traditionalist argument — that is, saying that “this is the way it’s always been done”? Equally abysmal failure. In fact, it’s always an abysmal failure.

And so now, people like the Senator from the Great State of Texas by way of Canada are doing the only thing they can:

1) Attacking unelected judges (you know, the ones that are generally censured at a lower rate than their elected colleagues)

2) Attacking “activist” judges (though of course, they’re only activists if they rule against the conservative cause).

3) Defending state’s rights (which seems sound, except the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution opens the door to mandating that states, at the very least, recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states)

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