Brown wet leaves, cracked party cups, a few lingering Bush/Cheney signs and SUVs. Ah, home sweet home.
[me2]These are the sidewalks of my street this December. During most of my stroll down M.A.C. Ave. my head is filled with the thought, where the hell am I? My street, and more specifically the fast driving, gas-guzzling, “mine is bigger than yours,” SUV, is a glaring metaphor for our times. While this fact depresses me, it is an allegory that deserves a little elaboration because perhaps I am not alone in my dismal observations.
I have not always been a cynic, but the last two years or so have pushed me over the proverbial edge and I have gone from an informed Pollyanna to a disheartened Daria. Anyway, the world we live in is a troubling one. It is a conservative, patriarchal, bigger-is-better, the-world-is-my-ashtray, one, where we are used to war, spend more than ever and are intolerant of difference. Oh and I forgot God-fearing, of course.[suv2]
It is a world for which the SUV is the perfect metaphor. Especially as American’s we are as excessive, imposing, impractical, and domineering as the SUV. Driving down any highway is proof enough. Trucks, SUVs and my personal favorite excess-mobile, the Hummer, crowd the lanes, their huge grills riding the bumpers of less-endowed motorists. Instead of driving more sustainable, more practical and less ecologically invasive cars, you’re a nobody if you can’t keep up with the highway arms race where the war is over who can drive a bigger, more advanced SUV. I suppose next year the H2 will be replaced with a full out tank. Sigh.
Yet it is not the actual SUV that is to blame, or even SUV drivers. There are plenty of progressive, sound-minded folks sitting behind the barrelling wheels of SUVs. It is the fault of the new conservatism of the last few years. With an increasingly conservative populous, and extremely conservative government, we seem to be running along with a right-is-right attitude. Environmentalism has gone the way of the dodo. Sustainability is a dead word only used by hippies and “gurly men.” We are warring with one another instead of helping our fellow woman or man. Even worse, we’re stuck in a father-knows-best world where patriarchy is so in. Remember, we reelected a president that does not support the queer community, a woman’s right to choose, affirmative action, corporate regulations, positive international relations and affordable health care, but does support a thoughtless war in Iraq and endless cowboy talk. But don’t worry, we’re all safe now. Safe and warm nuzzled between a gun and a truck.
However, through all the muck I can see a thread of hope. Hope that one day we as Americans can breath deeply of clean air, visit foreign nations and feel respected, and see our men and women come home from overseas. I have hope of an America where any girl can get a wife, we can spend our money in places that will improve our communities, where racism and sexism are never tolerated and where people make decisions that treat the whole as the sum of its parts.
I do have hope. And her name is Prius.

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