Having teetered on the brink of becoming a vegetarian many times, I thought going to the World Vegetarian Day Celebration in Golden Gate Park over the weekend would be fun. Stationed at the County Fair Building on the Sunset side of the park, it was refreshing to find a big section of the grounds out front sectioned off for bicycle parking. Happy to give me $5 donation to enter, I skipped through the gate, excited to see what awaited me.
While I found some tasty treats and interesting cookbooks, it was an overall disappointment. A number of vegetarian and vegan-associated places in the city that I would have expected to join in did not. Props to VegNews Magazine for having such a large hand in the festivities. A few of the local veggie-centered restaurants were there, but many were “missing” as well. Slightly bummed out by the turn out and overall feeling of the festivities, I didn’t both to visit any of the lectures available. My goal was to attend the eco-fashion show, but I missed it by nearly an hour.
The most disturbing part of it all was a man that was walking around with a megaphone. At first, he spoke of how many thought “veggies” were weak and sickly, in what I think was an attempt to rally some of the attendees together. This, in itself, was cute and I was almost interested in shouting, “HELL NO!” As I continued to munch on my rice dish and browse the tables, he started talking of how Bush is a meat eater and a horrible person, that eating meat is the same thing as eating your pet, and that most “meatties” are evil and un-Christian. I’m not fan of Bush, eating mistreated animals, or a Christian; but the way in which he was presenting his thoughts perfectly represents what most dislike about vegetarians and vegans. Upon talking to many meat and non-meat fans, it is widely thought that veggies are pushy, rude, judgmental … etc. Yes, there are those out there like that, and they give all veggie-lovers a bad name. What you choose to eat is up to you, and while we many not agree with eating meat (whether it be religious, spiritual, ethical, or environmental), but are happy to let you live your life the way you choose.
By no means does this one guy turn me away from being interested in vegetarianism – I’ve actually been meat-free for a few days now and loving it. I hope future veg-based celebrations in SF are a bit better “managed” next time, instead of allowing someone to precipitate what so many dislike about “us”.