Can’t Satisfy Everyone

Some days you just can’t win. Also known as “you can’t please everybody”.

Case in point–and I’m making no assumptions here about how tuned-in you are to the current news: On April 29th, a couple of black men were hanging out near Lake Merritt in Oakland. They had a charcoal grill, but they were in an area of the park that only allowed non-charcoal grills.

This is not what most people would consider a major breach of the law.

On seeing such depraved behavior–charcoal grilling in a gas-only zone–the average person would probably shrug. At most, she’d go over to the scofflaws and say, “Hey guys, you can’t use that grill here.” If she was an optimistic sort, she might even point them to the nearest area where charcoal grills are allowed.

And at that point, the outlaw grill-meisters would either move or they wouldn’t. Either way, the supporter of the law would feel a modest glow for having done her duty.

That’s not what happened in this case.

A white woman confronted the men and called the police. She then stood nearby for two hours until the police arrived, at which point she accused the men of harassing her.

Needless to say, this didn’t go over well in Oakland. A protest was organized. Fortunately, it was not a march through the streets. Historically, those haven’t turned out well in Oakland, with vandals and looters using the marches as cover and excuse to make matters worse.

No, this protest was appropriate to the situation: a mass barbecue in the same area of the park, complete with a city permit, local corporate participation, and a voter registration drive. Thousands of people showed up, and by all reports, a good time was had by all.

Except, one presumes, the woman who originally confronted the men.

The punchline here, and the reason I say you can’t please everyone:

As it should, the SF Chronicle ran a story yesterday about the protest. Today’s paper included a letter to the editor from a reader in Palo Alto who was deeply offended by the story. She said, in part, that she “found it upsetting to read of the carnage required to make this protest.”

Yup. She’s hijacking a protest against racial injustice to protest to expound on the moral superiority of vegetarianism and promote animal rights.

With all due respect to the letter writer, this is exactly the sort of mission creep that dooms projects of any sort. Focus, solve one problem at a time, or work in parallel. Don’t undercut the work of others or insist that they work for your cause as well as their own.

Unless, of course, you’re more interested in protesting for the sake of protesting, rather than achieving a goal.

9 thoughts on “Can’t Satisfy Everyone

  1. We see this happen all the time. It’s a seeping and creeping of Nextdoor mentality.

    As for the woman who called the cops, perhaps she’d like a Starbucks card.


    • Don’t get me started on the Starbucks situation.

      Saw a Faux News headline after Starbucks announced their new “anyone can use the bathrooms” policy that said in essence employees and customers don’t understand how it’ll work.

      Exqueege me? Same as anyplace else with a public bathroom. People will walk in, use the facilities, and leave. Same thing happens thousands of times a day at libraries, malls, and restaurants across the country.


  2. I’m a vegetarian, and I approve your message.

    No, I wouldn’t have been able to load a plate at that party, but you have to choose which hill you want to die on. I thought the protest was a hoot. Self righteous vegetarians are exactly the reason I didn’t become a vegetarian myself for about ten years after I might have.


    • Is this the part where I’m supposed to say, “Some of my best friends are vegetarians”? (No, really, it’s true.)

      Seriously, though, thanks for the support. For the most part, I don’t mind vegetarians espousing their cause. The main exceptions are when I’m eating and when I’m espousing my own causes.

      But then, that’s the way I feel about most forms of advertising, be it moral, political, or commercial.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You wouldn’t believe how much crap I get sometimes about being a vegetarian when I’M eating. You know, someone eating a loaded burger rare at my table and asking me with faux solicitude if it bothers me. And less annoyingly but bafflingly “Do you do a lot of vegetarian cooking?” (No mam, I just go out on the lawn and graze.) I mean, we’re not space aliens. And absolutely, meal time is NOT my time to start preaching.

        It’s just a moral decision I made because I couldn’t live with myself eating meat. I can survive without it, so it was a simple choice, which was precipitated by my having a hissy fit at one of my cats who had caught a squirrel. (The squirrel got away.) I had a small epiphany and wondered why I was upet that the cat, an obligate carnivore, was about to see an animal that I could relate to as an individual. There it was. I don’t expect to induce that same perspective in another person by telling the story or haranguing them. People of conscience often come to wildly different decisions for themselves. And my cats get turkey and beef and chicken every day. Vegan kibble is for the birds — who actually liked the sample someone handed me at the co-op, come to think of it.


      • Eat, I mean, not “see.” Also “upset” and not “upet,” which sounds like regurgitation.

        I don’t think much of WordPress’s comment interfaces.


        • I believe every word. There are, proportionately speaking, just as many willfully assholic carnivores and omnivores as there are vegetarians.

          I must admit, I like the idea of feeding birds vegan cat food. But it should be noted that the blue jays around here are happy to eat the non-vegan krunchiez we put out for Tuxie and MM.


        • I couldn’t help but upet when the cat used the WordPress editor to see the squirrel.

          (I’m not fond of it either, but I’m used to it. And it mostly gets the job done. And having administrative privileges so I can edit my misteaks does a lot to reconcile me to its shortcomings.)

          Liked by 1 person

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