Bill Maher – In America, Being A Vegetarian Is ‘Worse Than Being Gay’ (VIDEO)

Raw-Meat-1On Wednesday night, the President hosted a lavish, $85 per plate dinner for 12 Republican Senators. The exact topics of conversation are still somewhat a mystery, but the agenda was not to come to any actual budget solutions. It was to simply educate the Republicans that despite Fox News and GOP leadership talking points, the President had actually put cuts on the table. Beside the fact that Republicans were dining with Barack Obama (a.k.a., the Kenyan/socialist/Marxist/Maoist/fascist who wants to drone Grandma and take guns from fetuses), the big, controversial news of the evening was that someone *gasp* special ordered a vegetarian meal.

On Friday night’s Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher and guest Arianna Huffington discussed whether that mystery Senator’s seat might be in danger because of the vegetarian meal and both agreed that yes, it’s a real possibility. From Raw Story:

“In America, that’s worse than being gay,” Maher told his panelists. “Are you kidding? They will elect a president who eats cock before tofurkey. Just one man’s opinion: that’s very suspect. Are you kidding? You’re not a real American unless you eat meat.”

Here’s the video:

Vegetarians are one of the true minorities in the US. It’s estimated that just 3.2% of Americans are vegetarian (people who may eat dairy or eggs, but no meat) and only about 0.5% are vegan (people who neither consume nor wear any animal products). An additional 10% of Americans lean vegetarian.

Overall, Americans, especially Republicans, don’t have a lot of love for those who choose to eschew meat. Only 38% of Republicans have a favorable view of vegetarians and fewer have a favorable view of vegans. It’s not surprising. Nearly every food commercial, if it’s not for a sugary product, shows meat. In a society that pays lip service to healthy living, meat (along with guns) has become the new f*** you to convention. For those who are too out of shape to climb a mountain or ski, eating a mountain of meat tells the world that you aren’t afraid to take a risk. John Alleman, the unofficial spokesman of a restaurant called “The Heart Attack Grill” was a risk taker. As a regular of the grill, which brags of a burger that has a whopping 10,000 calories, Alleman put an exclamation point on his favorite restaurant’s name. He died of a heart attack.

The public was not to be dissuaded. Just this month, another restaurant added a seven patty burger to its menu.

Meat, especially eaten in large quantities, is bad for the environment and bad for health. Last summer, when the country was suffering a severe drought, the USDA has suggested that Americans take just one day out of the week to eat vegetarian. The idea was that the agricultural industry is a large consumer of water and even a small decrease in meat consumption would save water. The GOP reaction to the “meatless Monday” campaign was swift and petulant. As David Sirota noted in Salon:

The idea is part of the worldwide “Meatless Monday” campaign, which the New York Times notes is backed by “thousands of corporate cafeterias, restaurants and schools.” In the face of a drought, it’s a pragmatic notion. Cornell University researchers estimate that “producing a pound of animal protein requires, on average, about 100 times more water than producing a pound of vegetable protein.” According to the U.S. Geological Survey, that means a typical hamburger requires a whopping 4,000 to 18,000 gallons of water to make.

Considering these numbers in juxtaposition to the drought, taking one day a week off from meat-eating seems like the absolute least we should be willing to do in a nation whose average citizen annually consumes an unfathomable 194 pounds of meat. And yet, in Washington, the USDA recommendation was a cause for outrage.

That’s right; upon the release of the USDA newsletter, lawmakers who have pocketed massive campaign contributions from the meat-centric agribusiness industry were out in force — as if the agency had declared war on the American Way of Life. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, called the recommendation “heresy” and pledged to “have the double rib-eye Mondays instead.” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told his drought-stricken constituents that “I will eat more meat on Monday to compensate” for the USDA suggestion. And Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, proudly posted a photo to his Facebook page showing a Caligulian smorgasbord of animal flesh that his Senate colleagues were preparing to scarf down as a protest against USDA.

More to the heart of it, meat is simply who we are. Americans love burgers and hot dogs. In days past, hard working, good ole’ American guys were called “meat and potato” men. Even today, despite the fact that the vast majority of meat comes from slaughterhouses, the meat culture and the gun culture are inextricably tied. To be an American – to be a Republican – to be a man – so the mythology goes – is to eat meat and lots of it.

Screen-Shot-2012-12-27-at-6.14.13-PM Wendy Gittleson grew up in a political family. Her passion is for social justice and fairness. She is the Senior Editor for Addicting Info. She lives in a union household. In her rare downtime, you’ll find her hiking or exploring the shoreline with her dogs. Follow her on her Facebook page or on Twitter, @wendygittleson