Friday, August 7, 2015
Let's say you just got a panicked phone call from your Mom. She just came upon a motorcycle accident and realized it's your brother and his head was covered in blood. She is freaked out, she is screaming at you to call the whole family and meet you at the hospital because your brother cracked his head open and it's not good. As fast as you can, you call your spouse, children, siblings, grandparents and you fly out the door and you drive to the hospital with more intensity than any Indy 500 driver. You run down the halls praying your brother is still alive, so you can see him one last time. A nurse directs you to the examining room. You shove your way past some people in scrubs, leap into the room and can't believe your eyes. There is your brother, sitting up on the bed, waiting for discharge papers so he can go home. His shirt is stained with blood, he has a little road rash and 3 stitches on his forehead. You look across the room to your Mom who is sobbing her little heart out. She is so grateful your brother is going to be ok. Cracked his head open????? Hardly! So, do you happily go about the room, hugging your family, or do you go up to your Mom, start screaming at her, calling her names and vowing to never have anything to do with her because she is nothing but a liar? Liar? Is your Mom a liar? Hmmmmmmm let's take a moment and think about this. We'll get back to your dear old Mom later.
So after giving your brother a ride home and making arrangements for somebody with a truck and trailer to go get his bike, you go home to your family. To calm your nerves, you sit down at the computer and check out your news feed on facebook. You see some interesting posts and you share them to your wall. One you find so amazing, you even tweet about it. An hour later, somebody responds to your facebook post with a link from snopes.com. OMG, what you post isn't real. It's not the truth. Are you a liar? Should people attack you with anger and name calling? How would you feel if they did?
We often see things, read things, hear things, and witness things that we interpret to be a certain way. It is the truth to us. When we express to others what we believe to be the truth and it's not, are we liars? Or are we just being human?
By now, I'm sure you're wondering why Momma Vape is going on and on about who is a liar. In the wee hours of the morning, I read this blog post Say Goodbye to the American Cancer Society (click here), and my heart sunk. It referred to the recent ban of e-cigs in the city of Jordan, MN. It also referred to a thank-you letter written to the local paper by a volunteer of the American Cancer Society showing gratitude for the recently passed ban. There wasn't an ounce of truth in that letter! (click here to read the letter) My blood pressure went up and I got very, very angry. How dare that lady lie about what I believe is the driving force that saved my young sons life??? Who does she think she is???
To add to my distress, I have seen the American Cancer Society do wonderful things. I have seen them do some great educational things, I have seen their volunteers be there for families dealing with cancer. I have seen them help families find the resources to get the help they need. I have volunteered at ACS fundraisers. And now... now they are the "enemy". Are they financially driven because of who donates to them, or are they liars, or are they just misinformed?
I whipped up a post, included the link to the blog I referenced above and expressed my distress all over facebook land. I brought up the need to turn these liars from enemies to allies. People on facebook responded. Some with their own theories, some with their own disgust, some with painful memories of their loved ones who died from cancer. One of the people who responded insinuated I was a fool, and was clueless about what I was talking about, and felt they knew more about my feelings than I do. OUCH!!! It hurts to be called names and I immediately got very defensive and fired up my poison pen and put them in their place.
Wait a minute........ we need to back up the train here. Didn't I call the lady who wrote the thank-you letter a liar? Some lady in small town America? Somebody who is acting on what she believes to be the truth? Somebody who's opinion is based on what she has been told about vaping, or what she has seen on the news and read in the newspaper. I know nothing about her. What drives her passion? Did she watch a loved one slowly die from lung cancer after smoking for years? Is she doing every thing in her power to fight anything she believes could cause others to die? Is she trying to protect people from going through the pain she has been through?
Every time I hear testimony that is not factual about vaping, I call them a liar. When I read things that does not jive with what I believe about vaping, I refer to the author as a liar. But are they a liar???? Or are they misinformed? Was your mom a liar when she thought your brother cracked his head open? Were you a liar when you shared a post that looked factual to you and it was nothing more than an urban legend? Was I a fool when I felt the need for those who are our vaping enemies to become our allies?
Why is it that when we don't agree with somebody, we have to revert to name calling and anger? Momma Vape has a project for all of you, and it requires you to reach out to the enemy with your truth, not with name calling, not with anger, but with responsible, calm adult truth. If you are going to continue to do what hasn't worked and that is attacking people with rude statements, anger, and name calling, I am going to tell you to do what my friend Jason Downing does, and that is to....
Today, I want you to reach out to the American Cancer Society and I want you to tell them the truth. I want us to avoid making up our minds that volunteers across the small towns and big cities of America are evil people plotting the financial future of their non-profit organization, and all of us trying to save lives can be damned. I want us all to stop assuming they are nothing more than a pack of liars. I believe it is very possible that the high ups in all kinds of organizations and corporations can have ulterior motives as to why they are trying to outlaw vaping. But I also believe there are lots of people out there doing their grass roots thing, who believe they are doing the right thing fighting vaping. THOSE are the people I want us to reach out to. Those are the people we need on our side. The Moms, grandpas, sisters, husbands, fighting the good fight to make the world a better place. We just need them to come over to OUR side and fight the right fight.
It is time to approach the "enemy". It is time to spread the truth. It is time to stop assuming that they are liars and consider the fact that they could be misinformed, misled, or misunderstand the facts. What can you tell someone who is misinformed? It can be how vaping has saved your life or the life of someone you know, or it can be about how the information they give isn't correct or doesn't apply to actual vaping. But it needs to be done calmly. Passion is ok, but lashing out at others in anger is not. Name calling is not ok. If we attack people and put them on the defensive, they will be our enemies for ever. Momma Vape had the world's coolest Grandpappy, and he always believed you attract more flies with honey than vinegar. So, let's open a 55 gallon drum of honey and spread around some sweetness. Will we convince anyone to join our side? Their minds are already made up, so it's going to take a lot of honey, but it can be done. The only way we will ever know is to try. Spread the love, not the hate. If we hate on them, they will continue to hate on us. No loaded barrels in this battle, just lots of love. Love for ourselves in our battle over combustible tobacco. Love for the smoker who hasn't yet found a way to break free. Love for our families who want us to forever be ex-smokers. And love for those who are misguided.
I'll leave it up to you how you want to go about spreading the love. You could certainly write a letter to the newspaper reference above and correct some of the errors that were made in that letter. You can write a letter to your own local newspaper.
You can post on the facebook wall of the American Cancer Society (click here for ACS on fb). You could tweet a little "love" and knowledge or a #vapingsavedmylife to @AmericanCancer. If you run across somebody who volunteers with this organization, how about inviting them out for a cup of coffee. How about some good old fashioned listening to them? Find out what they think they know and why they believe what they believe. And then calmly, share your story, share what you know, share why you know this to be the truth. Share information. We have millions of people to educate, to win over to our side. Not only for us, but for all the smokers out there. And the future smokers.
One last thought...........
I will continue to support people who are fighting cancer. I will continue to attend and donate to their personal fundraisers. They and their families need our love and support more than we can imagine, unless we've already had to travel down the hideous road that is Cancer. They do not deserve to lose our support because of the stance that the American Cancer Society has taken against vaping. Those families will ALWAYS have my love and support. Two such families come to my mind as I write this, my best friend who had to start her Mom on morphine today because the pain from cancer is more than she can bear, and a vaping advocate who I admire and respect very much as he stands by his wife's side as she bravely fights her own cancer battle. Those families don't need to hear us hating on the Cancer society and their volunteers. Those families don't need us putting them between a rock and a hard place making them feel as if they should choose between vaping advocacy and cancer advocacy. Those families need us to share love and support and find the right way to fight our fight, so they can focus on their battle against cancer at home.
Yes, when I don't hear the truth I get angry. Actually, I get really pissed off when I hear what to me is a pack of lies. But I need to use my anger to fuel my passion to advocate for vaping, not use my anger as an excuse to lash out at others, calling them names, filling the world full of rudeness, disrespect and hate. I need to channel that anger info the fire that burns in my belly, the one that won't let me quit until the fight is over. And I need to use my brains, not my wrath, and find a way to turn my enemies into my allies. This is how we will gain the numbers we need to win what is our goal, and that is the right to vape, the right for others to vape, the right to help save lives. Momma Vape wants you to join her, to reach out to others, to the non-vapers and bring them into our circle.
Momma Vape will get off her soap box now. Wishing you all a good weekend.
~ Momma Vape