Sarah Palin and Sponge Bob in 2012
Here's a picture of our neighbor's truck. His Bush/Cheney '04 sticker makes me sad and mad every time I see it (we go to work and come home at about the same time). And I noticed this morning, when he stopped at the little neighborhood cafe, that he has a brand new sticker:
This guy, not the Bush/Cheney/McCain/Palin neocons, not the economy or climate change or immigration, is THE top problem in America. We have the power and the wealth to become a pretty cool country ALMOST OVERNIGHT if half of our people weren't morons. The average American car sits unused 22 hours a day and the average American commute is 16 miles. GM had a production ready electric car in 1999, the EV1, yet after testing it and leasing out about 1,000 of them, they took them all back and crushed them and sold the battery technology to Exxon/Mobil. The drill-baby-drill mentality prevailed.
I do, however, realize it's not that simple. I've finished Obama's first book, Dreams From My Father, and I'm halfway through his second, The Audacity of Hope, and I'm learning from him that by focusing on what tears us apart rather than on what binds us together, "conservative" and "liberal" adversaries push one another to extreme positions.
I'm actually kind of a Republican at heart, and I do understand where these guys are coming from. If we "liberals" were given free reign, the world we'd make might not be a utopia at all, but more like a communist nightmare. Capitalism works great when you have a gigantic almost-virgin land mass you can rape, while communism seems to go very, very bad very, very quickly no matter what.
But now that the whole world is in peril, and since there are no more virgin continents to settle and rape (unless we want to make Africa the new America and kill off those pesky Africans like we did the Native Americans), we Americans really need to find a brilliant amalgam of capitalism and socialism. There are literally millions of possible permutations of human economic activity possible, but it is morons like our neighbor who put it all in terms of only two choices, rather dead than red. And it is morons on our side that make a more socially responsible world seem so goofy, weak, and corrupt, e.g., teaching Ebonics as a real, viable language. Our neighbor, who might have some valid insight about the potential horrors of socialism, digs his heels in even more and becomes almost clownish in his politics.
On some level he knows that his new Palin sticker makes him look stupid. But just as rap and hip-hop music have made the ghetto (a sad and tragic place if there ever was one!) seem cool, somehow, with the popularity of shows such as "Jackass," "Sponge Bob," and "The O'Reilly Factor," STUPIDITY has become cool!
This neighbor is unteachable. However, if he had to experience terror and extreme physical hardship due to the policies of his capitalist masters, he might completely change his tune. He may soon have the chance to go through just such hardships, thanks to his voting against himself (and against me and my children and you and yours) during the last few election cycles. If I sound a little self righteous, it's just that it's very hard for me to abide people who think it's OK to hog the supplies on a lifeboat, that they're somehow better than the other passengers, especially when they call themselves "Christians."