Saturday, October 27, 2007

Angry Highway

Impatience, intolerance, and hatred is building in America, and the best place to express these feelings is on the Highway! Hidden safe in our metal cages behind tinted windows, we are free to tell people how we really feel. And if someone disagrees with us? We just flip them off, mouth some dirty words at them, and pray that we don't run into them and the next stoplight.

There have been a lot of stories around the bicycling blogosphere of road rage and hatred towards cyclists. Fear, anger, sometimes even death. The family had to drive to Reno yesterday, and Kristy and I decided to take a sampling of some of the rolling billboards along the way. These three pictures are from a five minute stretch of traffic before entering Carson City. The theme? Meaningless Jingoistic Symbols.

My favorite of the three is the first one. "America. Love it or Leave it". What does this mean exactly? "If you do not do things exactly the way I do things, and do not believe the same things that I do, you must leave the country." Half of America hates the other half. We pollute the land, air, and water. Our tax dollars go to destroying far away lands, while our own is left to decay and crumble. We don't make anything for ourselves anymore, and send our money to communist countries so we can buy cheap appliances that will last one year if we're lucky. We want to deport anyone without a legal piece of paper that says they are welcome to pick our lettuce or flip our McBurgers for minimum wage or less. Americans are content to sit back and be sickened and fattened by government subsidized, corporate corn syrup. And if I don't like this, I am to leave? Time for another Boston Tea Party! TSOL! This time we'll be dumping barrels of High Fructose Corn Syrup into Boston Harbor...

Not much to say about this picture, except that I feel sorry for you. You don't know that the 2004 elections are over. You are among the small percentage that believe the country is headed in the right direction. My country right or wrong. There is nothing patriotic about supporting a billionaire politician that could give a rats ass about some piece of white trash living in the desert. Because if you die, there will another along soon to replace you. Another soulless consumer to buy their crappy products or make the ultimate sacrifice for a better corporate profit margin.

Bill Maher recently said, "This generation doesn't do real sacrifice. Or even pay for our own wars. That's what grandkids are for! No, we do flag pins and bumper stickers. And not even bumper stickers. Bumper magnets. Because stickers are tough to get off, and we may change our mind about never forgetting." There is much conflict here. By continued support and funding of the troops and war, it keeps them in harms way. I say bring them home. Supporting them just prolongs their exposure to bullets and bombs. These brave men and women could better defend their country at home. These magnets though... Communist, Chinese products. We're buying magnets from a country that is competing for the same oil reserves we are fighting for in the Middle East. Buying these products puts a greater strain on the situation, and further endangers soldiers abroad.

I hereby decree, that $3.00 gas is now a tax on impatience, intolerance, and hatred!

Opt out of the madness! Riding a bicycle is part of the revolution! I'll see you there.

25 comments:

bryan said...

This post makes my 3x per week bike commute worth it. And it was already quite worth it.

Chris said...

Amen

Smudgemo said...

If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

Marcus said...

Jeff- My goodness! What is up with this post? How many bumper stickers do you have on your car ( billboard?) There is nothing wrong with being patriotic in your own country. Your interpretation of Love it or Leave it is what is full of hatred. On that second pic, you could have just as easyly picked out a Gore in 2000 or Kerry in 2004 person with a bumper sticker. Those are still all over. At least you would have been fair. What people with these bumper stickers dont understand is that picking either side is just the same- this country is being run by the lobbiests. Not Kerry or Bush.
Pic number 3- Remember, American consumerism is totally responsible for raising the standard of living in China for all those people. Your garage full of Bikes has made lots of families eat and clothe themselves better. Have better housing. Same with those little magnet stickers things. Heres the really important point- all those bikes and magnets were DESIGNED in the USA or by a country protected by the USA- Where free thinking brings the greatest ingenuity to the consumer. Capitalistic network of trucks, shipping, roadways, brings it to the store for you to enjoy immediately.
$3.00 a gallon for gas! Still cheaper than any other country I have been in. And Finally... Was your last sentence supposed to make me believe that this post was about cycling? Or did you hijack your own mild mannered cycling blog, with its 2000 this month hits as your political billboard? Well, in conclusion, I have to say, dont worry about the belly, drink a couple of beers tomorrow, Turn on some Bob Marley, Smile and wave at the crazies with all the bumper stickers. You will feel better. TTFN, and now I must ride again in order to post a blog worthy of this blog site.

oldmanandhisbike said...

Well, I for one, think you need to get back on the beer. With a clear head and time on your hands, you appear to be observing life and making rational decisions about what you see.
Stop that.
We don't want to have to face our demons. And as long as you and I do not have to sacrifice, then there is no need to change.
Stop pointing out the obvious.
I would much rather divert my attention from the huge mess we have over in the middle east and elsewhere (even here at home with our economy and education systems) towards lighter fare.
You know; Brittney.
The rest of that stuff you mentioned will work itself out.
I would like to talk about this more, but Wal-mart has Guitar Hero III on sale and damned if I'm not getting it today!
C ya.
P.S. Rant on Baby! :^)

Jeff P said...

Right on J-Mo. My favorite sticker, though not political is, "Satan is a Pimp, don't be his Ho".
I wonder if the people with this window sticker would be interested in the sticker that I'm selling,"Jesus is my Pimp and I'm His Ho".

Jeff said...

Marcus, if you don't agree with me or understand me, you must leave the country. You are right though, I could've taken pictures of cars with other political affiliations, but I didn't see any on this stretch. There are still a few Subaru's with Kerry stickers on them. Same deal though...Billionaire's asking you for money so they can do the bidding of giant corporations. Same party, different PR campaign.

And yes, this post was inspired by cycling, not politics. I've spent a lot of time driving this week, and have encountered so much a-holery on the road. And if you've been reading cycling news from across the country, you'll see that road rage and impatience is growing elsewhere too. I'm embarrassed to be driving my car with these people. Just two more weeks, and I'll be primarily car free...

American Consumerism is not sustainable. It is based on unlimited supplies of cheap oil. The remaining reserves should be cherished, not pissed away like we're currently doing; for example, oil would be more wisely used for global food production instead of billions of plastic toys for McHappy Meals. And sadly, people aren't going to have much of a choice in the near future anyhow. Either wean yourself off it now, or have it violently taken away from you all at once. Your choice.

Jeff P. Another quote from Bill Maher, "Jesus Christ: wrong on gays, wrong on taxes, wrong on torture, and wrong for America." He won't be elected in 2008...

Oh and as far as hijacking...this post will be popular. This stuff is on a lot of people's minds! It's good to discuss this stuff.

Tank said...

I like kittens and long walks in the park.

Tank said...

"Can we all just get Along?"

Read Yvon Chouinard's book "Let My People Go
Surfing - The education of a reluctant businessman".
Good perspective on how we can make informed
and conscientious decisions about our consumerism.

Jeff said...

Tank, normally I don't take reading advice from vicious dogs, but I'll check it out.

There have been discussions on other cycling blogs about how cycling can combat rampant consumerism. People who tend to do more errands by bicycle are less prone to buying impulse items. You stick to what you need because you just can't carry anymore. A lot of people focus solely on cycling the sport; however, there is a big social movement happening in cycling right now too.

Getting rid of cable TV has seriously curtailed my consumerism. Without the constant bombardment of advertisements, you aren't aware of all this crap that you don't really need.

Marcus said...

Jeff,
"if you don't agree with me or understand me, you must leave the country." is not what the bumper sticker said. That is your interpretation. Not all cars are bad. They are responsible for us to be more efficient. Focus on the bad- and thats what you will be more attracted to. I think that you and the people with the bumper sticker, bottom line, want what is best for this nation. I dont think we are going to run out of oil all of a sudden. We might not be able to refine it and that will cause a crisis, but not lack of oil. Over consumerism fixes itself. People who can have whatever they want whenever they want it, find that material things, over time, will not bring them happiness. But dont shove that message down my throat. That is the beauty of this nation. We all have the opportunity to learn these lessons and succeed at whatever level we decide. Not at the expense of others, but to the benifit of others.

Ok, ok. Since it is your blog, you didnt hiJack it.. sorry. I just made it my home page, and was looking for my happy moment in my day, and was surprised. This story didnt look any different than my old home page- CNN, Fox news, msnbc.... This blog is usally funny, postive news about cycling. To me that promotes cycling. I chose to live and work in the same town to avoid spending uneccessary time in my car too.
So screw all those bumper stickers. I love the United States of America. It is the only nation that believes in the goodnes of the human spirit. Yes there are many in power that abuse this, and there is no excuse for this. Instead of focusing on others opinions and attitudes-Perpetuating distrust and hatred, focus on what you do right, and promote that in a positive way.

Jeff said...

Marcus...please don't take any of my comments towards you or any reader as angry. My anger is focused towards the easy motoring lifestyle, which I feel is out of control. Sometimes emotions are hard to read in printed form. I'm simply stating that this car frenzied lifestyle is one that I no longer want to be a part of. People roaring up and down my street and along the highway with no regard for anyone's safety directly affects me. My 15 mph street has become a speedway for Trucks and SUV's. I fear for my family's safety on a daily basis.

Oil and cars in themselves are not evil. They are just abused. I enjoy the fact that I can drive to visit far away family if I need to. And sure, the news coming from many credible people in the energy sector may be alarmist, but I don't feel like I want to take that chance with my family. If I'm wrong, I've created a more sustainable, simpler lifestyle for my family. But if I'm right....

I make no apology for my posting though. I can't be all things for all people. Personally, I find 24/7 happiness and joy a little boring. A good mix of emotions, tension and release, keeps things interesting. If you don't have the bitter, how will you know when things are sweet?

This country was founded on revolution, not sitting idly by, waiting for something better to come along. Frederick Douglass said, "The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." Frankly, I've reached my limits and am ready for a revolution! To each his own though! That's America.

Please don't leave the country until you've finished my loan. But I'd like you to stay, because you're fun to ride with!

Jeff said...

More from Frederick Douglass:

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they get. If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and, if needs be, by our lives, and the lives of others.

Marcus said...

Jeff- Amen! I bet if you asked the person with the " America, Love it or Leave it " bumper sticker on it if s/he thought freedom was free, s/he would say " hell No". We cant sit on our asses and hope for the best. Having a postive attitude, Taking anger and turning it into something postive is work. Smile and wave. In our society- anger gets you nowhere. It may help on the battlefield, but not in the office or on the street. It is the postive actions you take that will make a difference to others around you.

Marcus said...

And yeah, ok. I must confess..... this post is kinda fun. Sorry I was so huffy.

Smudgemo said...

I agree with you Jeff, I have no tolerance for haters.

Marcus said...

Peace to all... Goodnight!

Tim said...

The only thing worse than the mindless messages on those damned bow-shaped magnets is the stupidity of the people who mount them on their cars sideways.

Sorry, but if you're so stupid that you can't handle reading a message that runs up the side of a bow that -- in its original form is worn vertically -- then you're too much of a moron for me to take you seriously.

Keep rockin' the boat and pedalin' the bike, Jeff!

oldmanandhisbike said...

I do believe that this is a great country and we must recognize each persons right to make individual choices.
But some issues are larger than the individual. They speak to society and culture and positive progress.
As Jeff said, protest and questioning is the foundation of freedom. We are supposedly fighting for that same ideal in the middle east right now (however bogus I may feel personally that cause is).
Questioning our leaders on the direction and decisions they make on our behalf, is part of the process. We cannot be just expect that they have our best interests at heart.
But the other half requires personal decision making. One can sit idly by and live business as usual or you can see the value in making a change. It may be difficult, it may require sacrifice but in the end if it is beneficial to you and others, it is worth the effort.
Start small. Do something easy like recycling. Work up to the harder stuff. Make it fun. Include your children in the change. Make them see the value in the cause. It does not need to be indoctrination, but rather can be enlightenment.

Xd said...

my all-time favorite "bow" magnet/sticker was red, white and blue with stars and everything and said "I love baseball." that one had me laughing pretty hard.

Snakebite said...

See what happens when you do a little driving! Now knock that shit off and get back on your bike!

Tim said...

The only bow magnet I've seen that I actually liked was a gray one that said, "I support absolutely nothing."

Jeff said...

Thanks for all the great comments, both in agreement and disagreement!

I think Oldmanandhisbike is right though...there are more important matters afoot! LEAVE BRITTANY ALONE!

lauren said...

oh my goodness! it's all crazy and stuff over here.

i'm going back down into the rabbit hole.

wolfy said...

What bothers me is the notion that support = stickers and flags and no support = no stickers and flags. And that he who makes the sticker defines the parameters of that support. What do I believe? What to I support? How do I vote? You're going to have to slow down, grab a beer and have a chat about it.

Every time I think about this issue I hear in my head:
"...off again in again in again out again, through the machine they raced round and about again..."

-M