In Trump’s America, Jan 20-Feb 20

If you follow the news you know it’s been a hectic month in the United States. Trump’s presidency has been riddled with protests, controversies, and a cascade of executive orders. I’ll be writing one of these posts every month with links to the “news highlights” of that month that relate to the President, his cabinet, and his orders.

Executive Orders

Total of 11 executive orders (if you don’t count the Muslim ban since federal courts ruled against it).

Big Stories

Silencing the EPA

Sean Spicer scolds the media during his first press conference

Kellyanne Conway coins the term “alternative facts”

Federal appeals court rules against the Muslim Ban 

Kellyanne Conway cites Bowling Green Massacre that never happened

National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns over conversations with Russian ambassador 

Trump advisor Stephen Miller turns hype-man

Trump tells Netanyahu to “hold off on settlements for a bit”  Trump says he can live with a one-state or two-state solution in Israeli-Palestinian deal

Trump scolds reporter for asking about claims that his campaign spurred anti-Semitism

Trump makes Sweden terror comment

Looking at the Menu

The world has changed a lot since 2011, a time when being vegan/vegetarian meant you were forced to stick to the appetizer and sides menus at restaurants. In 2017, nearly every restaurant I go to has at least one meatless entree item and choices that accommodate the dairy-free. When I went to this restaurant called Earls a few weeks ago, I ordered a vegan burger which prompted the manager to come by our table just to tell us that they offered a vegan alternate to every item on their menu (side note: Earls has the best vegan sushi rolls I’ve ever tasted, which the manager gave to us on the house).

If I’m out to dinner and there’s someone at the table I’ve never met, one of our mutual friends will undoubtedly make my diet a topic of conversation before the waiter comes by to take our order. It usually starts off with someone saying, “oh, Natalie is vegan by the way,” to which this new acquaintance will either say “me too!”, or ask a bunch of questions about what it means to be vegan like “where do you get your protein?” or “do you care if I eat meat in front of you?”

As a culture, we are desensitized to what it means to eat meat. Even as a vegan, I can’t say it bothers me to see people eat meat because it is so engrained in our culture. But if I really think about the question “do you care if I eat meat in front of you?” I have to think, why are you eating meat if the ethical option is there for you? When we think about the health risks of eating meat, how animal agriculture is damaging our environment, and the millions of animals who are suffering for five minutes of our gustatory satisfaction, contributing to this industry seems insane but our society does it anyway. The right choice is clear but we’ve designed it to be the alternative, and although the groupthink is changing, it’s not changing fast enough.

This week I’m going to write about the three common reasons people become vegan/vegetarian: health, environmental, and moral. I think a lot of people who aren’t vegan/vegetarian assume vegans/vegetarians abstain from meat eating because we don’t think animals should be killed for human consumption. While that is part of the reason for many of us, it’s not all of it.

The Greatest Lie Ever Told

If you were to be diagnosed with cancer with 97% of doctors saying that you have cancer and 3% of doctors saying that you don’t have cancer, would you seek treatment or would you risk dying from it? Or worse yet, would you tell them, “that’s ridiculous because cancer does not exist?”

Something I hear a lot about climate change is that yes, 97% of climate scientists have confirmed the human impact of climate change BUT there’s still 3% of climate scientists that claim climate change is either not happening or that it is happening but is not expedited by human activity (animal agriculture, burning coal, oil, etc.). The growing trend now is to believe that 97% of scientists have a reason to lie, which is to say that if 97% of scientists tell us how to cure cancer, HIV, Zika Virus, or any other sort of virus or ailment, we are to believe they don’t have these cures, that these are lies.

The myth about climate change is the idea that climate change can be a matter of belief when it is in reality based entirely on research, on facts. Religion is a matter of belief, science is not.

There are people who take articles from the 3% of climate change scientists who deny the impact of human activity on climate change (or deny climate change altogether) and use them to feed into the agendas of those who stand to gain the most from climate change denial (big oil billionaires, CEOs, lobbyists for animal agriculture, etc.) rather than listening to the 97% of scientists who stand to gain/lose nothing by telling the truth, whose only pursuit is knowledge. To these people I have two questions: why are you letting them lie to you? They know the truth, they know the human impact on climate change but it behooves them to lie about, it is entirely to their benefit. And hey, maybe you know they’re lying. Maybe you think that lying will get you your job back. Maybe that’s all you care about. Maybe you’ll lie until better jobs exist for you. And honestly, if you have mouths to feed I can’t completely villainize you for that, especially if these coal, oil, and animal agriculture jobs are all you’ve ever known. But I’m calling climate change denial for what it is, a lie.