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Why I don’t hate Mike Vick

Posted by on August 17th, 2009 with 0 Comments

I worked my way through college at an animal ER in West Philadelphia. Being a super-rich institution on the edge of a very poor neighborhood, it saw an exaggeratedly stratified base of clients. I could write 100,000 words linking the love,  callousness, racism, class division, anger and abuse that I saw there to the Mike Vick saga, but who would want to read that?

I could also add to the chorus and express my moral outrage by damning the Eagles and calling Vick a psychopath or a monster, but that would be stupid.

What I will write about is what I observed so much at the animal ER… or the cherry picked morality that people use to separate themselves from the acts of cruelty that they choose to despise. That doesn’t mean I support Mike Vick and it doesn’t mean that I support dog fighting. I don’t. It’s fucking disgusting…

…But it drove me nuts as the staff of the animal hospital passed judgment on folks who c/wouldn’t take out a second mortgage to pay for their dog’s back surgery…. They’d ask each other, “If those people can’t afford $3500 to fix their dog, then why did they get a dog in the first place…?” Then they’d refuse service on the grounds that pets are technically property and go stuff down dinners from McDonalds as they congratulated each other on their superior code of ethics.

I’m sure that a huge majority of my old co-workers despise Vick and I’m not saying that they shouldn’t, I just wish that morality was more than something that some people use to divide themselves from some other people that they think they’re better than.

But moving on, Vick fought dogs for sport and that’s disgusting. Last week at a barbecue I ate a hot dog and a hamburger. The production of that food is disgusting on an industrial scale. I’m fully ready to accept that. It’s why I try not to eat industrially produced meat. But I do eat it and I also accept the fact that if evil exists, its production is full of it. Well hidden… but absolutely full of it.

Aside from meat, your taxes pay for unending wars over land and resources. A peace loving hippy puffing pot at a phish show is fueling inhuman brutality from Mexico to the streets in front of your house. The production of a diamond on an engagement ring is an incredibly dangerous job that pays almost nothing while it destroys ridiculous amounts of land, contaminates water, kills wildlife and fuels civil wars.

Granted if I move off the grid, raise all my own food and stop paying taxes, no social ills will be cured. At the same time, Vick had full agency over the dog fighting club that he bankrolled. That control (and his “hobby’s” illegality) is what makes his case different from all the horrible things 99.99% of us support, but have almost no control over. And that’s exactly why he was arrested, tried and sent to prison for 2 years.

He’s out now and I’ve got a strong suspicion that he’s not thinking about fighting dogs. And that should be the end of it. As a society we decided that what he did was wrong and we punished him to the letter of the law. No one can argue that he got a light sentence because of his celebrity, because he didn’t. Now, whether he’s a CEO or a trash collector, let the man get on with his life as best as he can. If “as best he can” means a $5 million contract, then don’t blame him, go take it up with capitalism. Seriously. Go take it up… it’s a much bigger issue.

The point of this rant is that the Vick story is the moral equivalent to a news distraction. It makes an immoral civilization believe that it’s civilized. For a few days we can all act outraged and superior, then we can get back to ignoring everything… dog fighting and all.

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