I want to share a story about an experience I had recently in Park City, Utah, the closest town to my home. Even though the people there tend to align politically to my former friends and neighbors in California, I go about my business and workouts without it being much of an issue.
I went to one of the gyms I frequent, and as the instructor entered the studio, she started sharing a story. It was obvious she was distressed. The cause? Her business partner, who is 68 years old, and very “old school” purchased a sheep from a high school student at the county fair. She said she knew he “thought” he was helping the student (he was!) but, as a vegan, this went against everything she stood for and was frantically trying to find a local rescue organization that would take the sheep.
This might come across as me simply complaining about a minor annoyance, but there really is a lot more to this story. The first thing that struck me was the contempt she had for her business partner – that his age and values somehow rendered his lifestyle choices less worthy than hers. My second observation was how comfortable she was coming into a room full of people and criticizing a lifestyle different from her own.
In this age of political correctness and tolerance, it never ceases to amaze me how comfortable one “side” is with denigrating the other, and we all know this only works one way. Consider, for example, something that would never happen: an instructor marches into the studio, obviously unhappy, and informs the customers that a house in their neighborhood had been sold – to a gay couple – and that goes against everything she believes in. No one, including me, would find this acceptable. The instructor would be fired. It is perfectly acceptable to insult a traditional American value like ranching and 4-H, however, as they know there will be no repercussions.
Do I care if anyone is a vegan? Absolutely not. Her behavior reminds me of the answer to the age-old question: how do you know if someone's a vegan? Give them 5 minutes, and they'll tell you