Good advice for folks doing social justice work willy-nilly: stop.
It has snowed both nights we’ve been in Denver, and each morning, the sun comes up and melts all the snow, no matter what the temperature. I think this is a pretty ideal way to experience winter, as every morning is a frosted, cheery event, and the day that follows is bright and unbelievably blue. It could be worse.
Denver has a homelessness problem. There is a stark contrast between the glittering glass facades of the shopper-friendly downtown and the rows of bearded men wrapped in threadbare winter coats. Being vegan seems incredibly bourgeois at times like this; all of the vegan-friendly places (here and everywhere) are just as shiny and into recycling as the strips of chain restaurants downtown, and they cater to the rich white people who “diet” as a verb.
I like to think that my veganism is much more than a diet: a part of my feminism, my activism, the way I try to live my life participating in as few horribly harmful things as I can manage. When veganism becomes a tourist attraction (which it has in Asheville), a commodity for neoliberal REI-wearers to buy and feel good about, then I start to get annoyed. What else can be commodified?
The things that we place value on are the things that can be purchased; those who cannot purchase (people in poverty and/or experiencing homelessness) are excluded from the ideological basis of so much of American culture. The folks without places to sleep here in Denver mar the natural beauty that I can capture on my iPhone and post to the internet.
Sometimes things become so contradictory that I just want to take a nap.
Truth: Denver is gorgeous. It sparkles like an ice cream cake. The mountains behind the city loom and shadow. I am drinking tea and ate a vegan croissant and I am working on my grad school writing sample. Chett is the best travel buddy (but don’t ask him to carry your leftover pizza).
Yesterday we were cold and wanted a drink. We went into the nearest bar and lots of TVs were showing sporting events. Chett and I watched some football and drank beer. Go Broncos!
In case y’all were still confused: