Some people have asked to read the commencement address I delivered this morning to the 2013 graduates of Butler University. So here it is.
My own commencement speaker, who shall remain nameless, began with a lame joke about how these speeches only come in two varieties: Short and bad. This…
Today, as I have so often many other days, I came across an AR post (regarding the dairy industry) that stated the author was ashamed to be human. I cannot fathom this. There is nothing wrong with being human. Being human, in itself, is not a crime. The lion isn’t ashamed of being a lion. The cow isn’t ashamed of being a cow. Or at least I hope they’re not! (I know these are two very different extremes, but that’s the point.) People are animals, whether we want to admit that or not.
There are people who don’t care much about anything outside of their selves- there are a whole lot of them, actually, masses of them. But that doesn’t mean we’re all doomed to that fate. You’re ashamed to be human? Don’t be. You’re at the distinct advantage of being human, because you can make choices to fight for all animals. You have a voice! You can actually fight! You don’t have to sit there powerless. Your actions make a difference. They separate you from other people. Do you believe in something strongly? Do you fight for what you believe in? There you go. Channel all of those feelings of shame and guilt and despair and anger into something constructive.
Don’t be ashamed to be human, because there are other humans out there like you. People who are outraged by the treatment of other animals. People who act on their empathy and compassion. Find some of them and make a difference. Go vegan, volunteer, educate yourself and then educate others. Help the animals that you can any way that you can.
I know sometimes it’s hard to look past all of the injustice and the cruelty, and that it is easy to get overwhelmed and consumed with all of the pain and to feel so impotent. But we have made a difference, we make a difference every day, and we are growing larger and stronger all the time. We may be a minority, but we are rapidly becoming a large minority, and that’s something to be proud of.