Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What Does It Mean For the 48 percent? Or, "Let Them Eat Veggies!"

A great controversy erupted last year at one of our major state universities. A large part of the student body became aware that the food service was serving eggs from chickens raised, from shell to soup bowl, in tiny enclosed cubicles. Further their hamburgers were laced with pink slime from cows that had been inhumanely killed. A campaign was initiated to remedy these, and other culinary crimes. A student protest organization (Students for Humane Treatment of Non-Human Creatures [SFHTONHC]) called for a ban on any animal products in the food prepared and sold by the university food service.

After many protest marches, hundreds of hours of class time lost, the resignation of three university chancellors, and several shootings in the cafeterias, it was decided that the issue would be decided by a state-wide referendum. After all, the entire population had a stake in the outcome of this controversy; many stakes for that matter. It was only fair to decide what students should eat by a democratic vote.

The vote was very close, nearly a tie. Of the citizens voting, 52% favored a vegetarian diet, 47 % wanted inclusion of animal products in their food, and 1% followed the lead of a wild-eye Libertarian, Lonnie Paul, who wondered why they couldn’t offer a choice of different foods on the menu and let every diner decide for themselves.

But the vote was clear. The vegetarians had won with 52% of the state-wide electors favoring their solution. Careful analysis showed that of the actual students affected, only 47% favored the vegetable diet with 47.5% wanting some sarx on their plate. 5.5% had agreed with the Libertarian that they should be allowed to decide for themselves what to eat.

But the state-wide Citizens for Vegetable Diets (CFVD) (with the help of money poured into the campaign from a national PAC, Local Grown Vegans International [LGVI]) had clearly won the election. The people had spoken. So the students at our university of interest sat down to veggie meals day after day. Some students simply dropped out or transferred to other universities only to find that the trend had spread to that campus too. Many of the drop-outs began hanging out at nearby fast food joints creating fears of conflicts between Vegans and Carnivores.

LGVI has now provided state legislators with model legislation to deal with the looming crisis nation-wide. Laws – and even constitutional amendments – will soon be introduced to assure that the Vegan victory is not soon reversed. It will become a crime to produce, transport, sell, or be in possession of any products containing animal products.

Recently Lonnie Paul was arrested. He was shown on the evening news, hand-cuffed, and being dragged off to jail, plaintively asking why the wishes of 48% of the population had to sacrificed to those of a mere 52%. “Can’t we all just get along?”  he said. A witness who asked not to be identified said that Paul had been caught smuggling a tuna fish sandwich on campus.

Over-all it is widely agreed that the current, winner-take-all (WTA), approach to problem solving is far superior to the old piece-meal-compromise-with-your-opponent (PMCWYO) system. Now everyone knows the rules. And, as Lonnie Paul’s case illustrates, they know, too, what to expect if they break the rules.

It is good to have certainty, even if nearly half the population is gagging on it. And besides . . . Jesus was Vegan – wasn’t he?

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