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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hatred In The Most Flattering Form


I've been in a writing rut lately. Between my full-time real job, blogging for the NCBA Young Producer's Council, freelancing and finishing my thesis corrections, Buzzard's Beat has been neglected. Thinking of blog fodder is difficult when my brain is dried up - looks like #drought12 isn't just affecting the crops. I love to blog but don't want to spit mindless chatter out into the web-verse just for the sake of blogging.

Well, we're in luck because a few days ago some fodder showed up in my inbox.

I want to preface this entire post by stating that I am a very headstrong and vocal advocate person. By blogging, writing and promoting agriculture I am putting myself out there for people to criticize, hate, loathe, gossip about, yell at etc. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I have never engaged in such malicious attacks as what I experienced today. We are all still human beings and as such, deserve common courtesy, even from those who despise us.

So, without further ado.

I received an email from an Ethan Smith, [ethan smith's email address], that was very simple in its nature. It was only 28 words but those few words conveyed a malevolent hatred that I've never experienced before.

Subject: Swine

It would please me greatly to learn that you had been s*******d with the hottest of hot irons, you disgusting, ugly hick. It would be your just desserts.

He didn't even sign it. #Rude.

After I stopped shaking and regained my composure, I Googled the terms "animal activist" and "Ethan Smith" for obvious reasons:
1) The subject line was 'Swine'; this is clearly someone who likes pigs (funny, I do too) and wants them to be treated humanely (again, I do too).
2) I'm trying to put two and two together - this certain someone doesn't like that I support modern ag; especially pork production.
3) Someone who is vocal and ballsy enough to send such a hateful email probably has presence in other areas, too.

What I found, among many other Ethan Smith's (quite a popular name), is an author and animal rights advocate. I am not certain if this is the same Ethan Smith and in no way am I blaming that author for the nasty email. I'll let you do some searching to ascertain the truth for yourself. I'm just informing the public of what Google found.

The very sad thing in this instance is not the email itself but the complete disregard for open lines of communication. I haven't the slightest idea what I wrote that prompted the email. My column for SwineWeb.com was about a feed purchasing website and I haven't blogged about hogs in awhile. It seems that the mysterious Mr. Smith may have stumbled upon some of my past handiwork and been so angered by my apparent disgusting nature and ugly physical characteristics that he blasted off this email without thinking. My regret is that Mr. Smith didn't provide the opportunity for open dialogue. Instead, he didn't tell me what caused him to be ticked off and simply wished me some pretty violent bodily harm.

Mr. Smith is obviously a very passionate person. I admire that. I have nothing but for respect for people who are passionate about their causes and devote that passion to instituting change. I consider myself a very passionate person so I can understand how Mr. Smith felt in that my views may have been impinging upon his own. Kudos, Mr. Smith for speaking up for what you believe in; I’ll never criticize someone for having a backbone.

The point of this post is to let advocates know that haters are gonna hate; but don’t stop pursuing your passion, whatever it may be. If you are 150% pro-GMO then share the facts and engage your audience. Grass-finished beef? Go for it – let the world know you’re proud to be a beef producer and you provide your animals with the utmost care. You are making a difference. For every hater out there, there’s someone on your side. Let not the negative Nancys of the world bring down your aspirations and good intentions.

I'll wrap this up by stating that not everyone is overly open-minded but we can all be courteous to each other. Hate is not the way to deal with people who have opposing viewpoints. While I was brought up in a house where it was common to keep your mouth shut unless you had something nice to say, in today's media based society it's difficult to censor yourself when inundated with thoughts and opinions that are in the very least, upsetting.

My advice to anyone who experiences the same hateful feedback is to smile and say, "Wow, I'm making enough of a ripple with my message that someone felt the need to put me in my place."

I'll pray for your Mr. Smith - that no person ever speaks to your wife or children the way you just spoke to me. Pray that peace comes upon you and that you appreciate how very lucky you are to live in a society that allows you to speak your mind without any repercussions whatsoever.

Advocates, I’m sharing this one experience (because I’m sure there will be more) for the simple fact that if it happens to you, you'll know that you don't deserve that treatment and you shouldn't stop advocating for your cause. Be proud.

God Bless,
~ Buzzard ~

6 comments:

  1. Wow. I can't believe (but I kind of can) that someone would send that, with no explanation as to why he feels that way. It doesn't even really make sense and isn't well written either? I've had one particular hater on my blog as well, but thankfully he has seemed to stick to controversial posts and hasn't restored to emails. It's one thing to listen to opposing view points, but no one deserves that kind of treatment. Good for you for holding your head high and thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thanks, J. No other emails from this person in more than a year but one was plenty....

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  2. Jennifer AndersonJuly 31, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    That's sad that someone would feel the need to send an email like that. Way to take the high road and set a good example for current and future advocates! Keep doing what you are doing, because you are obviously getting through to some people.

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer. I sure hope I am reaching people who are looking for information because, if not, what is the point of this whole blogging thing?

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  3. In the words of a fellow agriculture advocate and downright fantastic lady, Carrie Mess:

    "When arguing with Animal Rights activists a win isn't getting them to change their minds, because you won't. A win is when they ignore the facts that you present because they can't dispute them and go to name calling.

    Today I an animal abuser with a heart of stone, and I won."

    The best we can do is use these upsetting moments as learning experiences, and obviously you've done that. I admire you for handling the situation with grace and dignity, which Mr. Smith obviously did not afford you when he decided to contact you. Keep up the great work, Buzzard. You're an inspiration!

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    1. Thanks, Kelly. It was definitely rough to read and even tougher to write this post but the support from my friends has been great.

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